Research at OLEV

Supporting emerging technologies which the UK can exploit and lead globally, where full commercial funding is not otherwise available.


Ultra-low emission vehicle technology is developing fast. The government is committed to accelerating the pace of change in this area and contributes to the funding of a range of innovative research and development activities. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) is focused on identifying and supporting emerging technologies in the field of ultra-low emission vehicles.

The low carbon vehicles innovation platform

The government’s programme of research and development for low carbon vehicle technologies is delivered through the Technology Strategy Board’s low carbon vehicles innovation platform (LCVIP).

This platform was launched in 2007 and is funded by the Department for Transport, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The LCVIP aims:

  • to significantly reduce carbon emissions from vehicles
  • to accelerate the introduction of low-carbon vehicle technologies
  • to help the UK automotive sector benefit from growing demand for low carbon vehicles

The TSB LCVIP is run by setting competitions to fund collaborative research and development with the criteria set with input from industry and government through the Automotive Council and TSB’s Low Carbon Vehicle Steering Group. Project bids are assessed independently by a panel of automotive experts.

All projects are required to be match funded by the private sector. To date, OLEV has committed funding of around £60 million into more than 75 innovative projects, with £17 million committed most recently to support LCVIP’s Integrated Delivery Programme 8 ‘disruptive technologies’ competition and Integrated Delivery Programme 9 ‘technology challenge’ competition.

In June 2011, £500,000 was awarded to 6 British companies to carry out feasibility studies into the recycling and re-use of batteries for low and ultra low carbon vehicles..

As part of the LCVIP, the Technology Strategy Board’s ultra low carbon vehicle demonstration project is trialling over 340 electric and plug-in hybrid cars in 8 locations around the UK.

The trial includes 5 plug-in hybrid Toyota Prius cars, which have joined the Government Car Service and will provide important data on the real world use and performance of electric vehicles, driver behaviour and recharging issues.

Also funded via the TSB, the low carbon truck demonstration trial is set to deliver fleets of low-emission heavy goods vehicles onto UK roads as well as supporting infrastructure such as gas fuelling stations. OLEV and the DfT freight division are jointly funding £9.5 million.

The low carbon vehicle public procurement programme (LCVPP)

The government’s low carbon vehicle public procurement programme (LCVPPP) was set up in 2009 to help stimulate the market for lower carbon vehicles. The LCVPPP provided funding to support the trial of over 200 electric and low emission vans in a range of public fleets.

The LCVPPP allowed for the collection of ‘real-world’ data about the vehicles’ performance and usage and helped to drive ongoing technological development as well as demonstrate the existing capabilities of these vehicles. A second phase began in 2012 and provided funding support to supply 500 lower carbon vans to a wide range of public sector fleets.

Low carbon funding landscape

You may also wish to find funding providers on the low carbon funding landscape navigator. This is a newly developed, fully searchable database provided by the Energy Generation and Supply Knowledge Transfer Network with support from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) which enables you to find detailed information on existing private and public funding organisations and funding opportunities.

The Technology Strategy Board

The TSB is the UK’s national innovation agency. Their goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. They work right across government, business and the research community – removing the barriers to innovation, bringing organisations together to focus on opportunities, and investing in the development of new technology-based products and services for future markets.

Information about TSB funding competitions:

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