The UK government has backed a BMW project to develop electric vehicle batteries with a range similar to that found on internal combustion engines.
The BMW venture is one of four projects to have received a share of £91.7m from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) Collaborative Research and Development competition for low-carbon car technology.
The UK arm of the German carmaker, based at its Plant Oxford facility, will receive £26.2m and aims to address ‘concerns over how far electric vehicles can travel to rest’.
Currently, electric vehicles can typically travel between 150 and 250 miles per charge, with the top models now seeing in excess of 300 miles. However, many larger petrol and diesel cars could see over 500 miles between top ups.
So-called ‘range anxiety’ is often cited as one of the key reasons why consumers are reluctant to switch to electric vehicles, as they’re concerned about being able to charge if they get caught with a low battery far from home.
Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone said: ‘Seizing the opportunities that arise from the global green automotive revolution is central to our plans to build back greener, and these winning projects will help make the widespread application and adoption of cutting-edge, clean automotive technology a reality.’
Andreas Loehrke, head of research and design for BMW Motorsport Ltd. UK, said: ‘This is a really exciting opportunity to collaborate with world leading companies to develop high-tech battery technology.
‘It strengthens our UK partner base and safeguards and extends our research and design centre.’
The other projects included £9.7m towards ultra-fast-charging batteries, £14.6m for a hydrogen-fuelled heavy goods vehicle engine, and £41.2m to create a ‘radically redesigned’ commercial electric vehicle.