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£20m Zero-emission Road Freight Funding Aids Move to Electric Trucks

David Paul


Zero-emission Road Freight
The money will help the British Government’s transition to net zero freight services.

After news of a concerning lack of battery tech strategies, the UK Government has announced a substantial funding package to boost the UK’s transition to zero-emission road freight.

Zero-emission trials, costing £20 million, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered by Innovate UK, will help to develop solutions to support the uptake of zero-emission trucks.

Following previous battery-electric vehicle field testing in a real-world environment and feasibility studies, the new funding will help to design and develop cost-effective, zero-emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and their refuelling infrastructure.

The move comes soon after the announcement of £50m in funding by the Scottish Government to go towards a net zero bus system as part of its new Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB).

Replacing previous funding streams set out for zero-emission vehicles, the fund aims to ‘encourage’ the market to agree and implement new and innovative ways to finance zero-emission busses.

The latest funding round follows the government’s transport decarbonisation plan, in which a consultation on phase-out dates for the sale of new, non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles was launched.

Commenting on the funding, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Through our bold and ambitious transport decarbonisation plan, we’re leading the way in the transition to zero-emission vehicles by becoming the first country in the world to commit to ending the sale of all new fossil-fuelled road vehicles by 2040, subject to consultation.

“From Doncaster to Scotland, by working in partnership with industry, this funding will allow us to better understand the role of zero-emission HGVs while levelling up the industry and boosting regional economies.”

Meanwhile, a hydrogen fuel cell feasibility study, led by Arcola Energy Ltd, will design a possible future trial of hydrogen fuel cell trucks and new refuelling infrastructure in Scotland.

These projects, along with four other successful feasibility studies, aim to prepare for a potential demonstration of zero-emission freight technologies at scale on UK roads and will support the roll-out of zero-emission technologies to decarbonise heavy transport vehicles.

Iain Stewart, UK government minister for Scotland, commented: “It’s great news that a study involving Scottish utility, logistics companies and the University of St Andrews to design a potential trial for hydrogen fuel cell trucks and new refuelling infrastructure has received a share of £20 million UK government funding.

“The UK government’s transport decarbonisation plan will help the country build back greener from Covid-19. With Glasgow firmly on the world stage later this year for the COP26 summit, these projects are vital to show how the UK is innovating to help save the planet.”


Scotland is already making headway towards a net zero future. Small firms and scale-ups across the country have begun the task through the Tech Nation Net Zero programme, which last year accepted four Scottish scale-ups.

The UK Government has come under fire recently for its lack of battery and fuel cell technology strategy present in Britain to boost the uptake of electric vehicles.

A report from the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee concluded that the country is at risk of losing its automotive industry without a substantial battery tech strategy.

The report stated that the UK could start “falling further behind global competitors” in battery manufacture, with competitor nations already investing more heavily in lithium-ion batteries than the UK.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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