A £35 million technology research and development fund has been released by the Advanced Propulsion Centre competition.

The competition was announced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK on 12 January.

It is part of a strategy to develop commercial on-vehicle transport technologies for low-carbon vehicles. Technologies that primarily function off a vehicle, such as charging infrastructure, are not eligible for funding.

For a project to be eligible it must be based around at least one of five technologies:

  • Thermal propulsion systems.
  • Lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures.
  • Electric machines and power electronics.
  • Energy storage and energy management.
  • Alternative propulsion systems.

And to qualify it must also be able to demonstrate three key results:

  • Significant reductions in vehicle CO2 or other emissions.
  • Align with Automotive Council technology group roadmaps.
  • Develop the UK’s supply chain in low-carbon vehicle propulsion or light weight systems technology.

The government expects projects to range in size from £5m to £40m with a timescale of between 18 and 42 months. Projects are generally expected to begin two months after an application has succeeded.

As part of funding process, the scheme must be done collaboratively with at least one vehicle manufacturer and/or a tier 1 supplier and at least one SME partner.

At least 70% of the total eligible project costs must be taken on by the commercial organisations themselves. And no more than 50% can be public funding.

For the Treasury to release funds, the value for money of each project must also reach an “acceptable threshold” which is worked out by dividing the net benefit to the UK by the cost to the exchequer.

Non-UK based companies and research organisations are eligible to apply provided that before the project starting they have set up a UK base.

Applicants must register before midday on 29 March and the final deadline for applications is midday on 5 April.

In November, the government announced £390m for future transport technology by 2020/21 including driverless cars, renewable fuels and energy-efficient transport.