Government to invest in battery technology and autonomous vehicle development

electric car

The government will invest £246 million into the research and development of battery technology and £25 million into connected and autonomous vehicle development.

The four-year £246 million investment, known as the Faraday Challenge, will form a key part of the government’s industrial strategy, which aims to tackle long-term challenges in the UK economy by increasing productivity and driving growth across the country. The strategy is funded by the £1 billion Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

The Faraday Challenge will be delivered through a series of competitions and will focus on the research, innovation, and scale-up of battery technology.

The first competition, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, will look to create a Battery Institute to bring together sector-leading individuals and facilities in this field. Research completed by the Battery Institute will then be moved closer to market through research and development competitions, led by Innovate UK, with the aim of making the technology more accessible to UK businesses. The Advanced Propulsion Centre will work with the automotive sector to form a National Battery Manufacturing Development facility to develop the real-world application of battery technology, which will be based on an open competition.

An overarching Faraday Challenge Advisory Board will oversee work completed as part of the challenge. Professor Richard Parry-Jones, who has experience in the automotive industry as a senior engineering leader and as chair of the UK Automotive Council, will chair the new board.

The government has also launched a Connected Autonomous Vehicles research and development competition. This will include £25 million of funding for new projects, such as off-road driverless vehicles.

Greg Clark, business and energy secretary, said: “Joining together the research, development, application and manufacture of energy storage technologies, and specifically battery storage, is a huge opportunity for the energy sector and the automotive sector alike. So as part of our Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund I am launching the Faraday Challenge, which will put £246 million into research, innovation and scale-up of battery technology.