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20 million Government funding for environmentally friendly vehicles

£20m of new Government funding will support UK research to develop new low carbon vehicles that could be on the road within 5 to 7 years.

This investment will assist innovative companies taking forward low carbon vehicle research, development and demonstration projects and is being made available by the Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Transport.

This funding, which will support UK based research, is part of the government’s Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy. This was launched in May and sets out measures that the government is taking to transform the market for lower carbon vehicles.

Tackling the growth of carbon emissions from road transport – which account for around 20% of domestic emissions in the UK – and meeting demanding new EU carbon emission standards for new cars are major challenges for the UK’s automotive industry. Significant new innovation and technology development by industry will be required to deliver the lower carbon vehicles needed both to meet these challenges and to respond to the demands of public and private sector uses.

Supporting the initiative, Science and Innovation Minister Ian Pearson said: “Through our investment in UK-based research and development we want to accelerate the introduction of low carbon vehicles, ahead of what would be achieved by market forces alone. This funding will help companies in the UK to benefit from the growing domestic and international demand for lower carbon vehicles.”

Transport Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, added: “Getting new low carbon vehicle technology from lab to road is vital if we are to reduce the environmental impact of everyday travel. This fund represents an excellent opportunity for UK expertise to help shape a low carbon future for transport and I would urge companies to grasp it with both hands. Business involvement and innovative research will bring us closer to a greener future when lower carbon buses, cars, lorries and taxis are commonplace on our roads.”

Minister of State for Competitiveness, Stephen Timms, said: “This important initiative will help UK business stay at the forefront of low carbon transport technologies. I welcome the opportunity that this investment, and the Government’s wider market transformation policies, will give companies to mobilise innovation in response to the global climate change challenge.”

The funding will be available to support vehicle technologies with the clear potential to be commercially viable within 5 to 7 years. Projects relevant to passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, buses and taxis are all eligible for support.

The funding, which will be made available through a competition managed by the Technology Strategy Board, will fund collaborative research and development carried out in the UK.

This is the first competition managed by the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform (LCVIP), which addresses the societal and environmental challenges posed by the need to tackle the carbon impacts of road transport and to achieve substantial reductions in average vehicle emissions.

The competition opened on 21 September 2007 and there will be an information day for potential participants on 4 October 2007. The deadline for companies to register their intention to submit an application is 5 December.