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Electric Vehicle Accelerator offers £20,000 grants for winning business ideas

North East businesses with transformative solutions to support the region’s long-term shift away from petrol and diesel vehicles could secure a £20,000 grant to develop their ideas.

The second wave of challenges have been launched as part of the Electric Vehicle Innovation Accelerator asking start-up and well-established companies to provide solutions to three challenges inhibiting the take up of Electric Vehicles (EVs), both regionally and nationally.

The accelerator is seeking innovative solutions that look at the existing EV field; this may be infrastructure related or behaviour change. Ideas should help the North East transition to a cleaner society and assist with increasing the uptake of EVs, reducing pollution levels and making our environment a better place for everyone.

Ideas are also welcome for two further key challenges; those that could transform the distribution of temperature-controlled goods or simplify the costs and complexity of installing domestic EV charging solutions.

All applicants need to be related to EVs and show exceptional commercial potential but could come from any sector particularly businesses in the electrical, construction, manufacturing and architecture fields.

As part of the Go Ultra Low North East campaign, which is jointly funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the European Regional Development Fund, the Electric Vehicle Innovation Accelerator has been designed to provide intensive business support to successful applicants.

The accelerator is being delivered on behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee by the Innovation SuperNetwork and ENGIE to support the decarbonisation of road transportation, which is a global and national ambition. Through its Road to Zero Strategy, the UK government has issued targets to increase the take-up of electric vehicles and is committed to making nearly all cars and vans zero-emission by 2050. The accelerator programme aims to help ensure the region, as well as the wider country, is equipped to meet these targets.

Simon Green, CEO of the Innovation SuperNetwork - which works to grow the regional economy by driving the adoption of innovative practice, said: “We were surprised by the interest from local entrepreneurs when we launched the first wave of challenges and we hope to attract even more businesses from a diverse range of industries including those from outside the electric vehicle space, to explore the opportunities presented by these challenges.

“Not only is the low emission agenda a critical part of global decision making around managing climate change, it presents a unique commercial opportunity for businesses across the North East to help drive the uptake of electric vehicles, thanks to our position as a test-bed for rapid filling stations. This programme offers local businesses the opportunity to receive technical and commercial advice first-hand from industry experts, giving them a real chance of bringing their innovative solutions to life.”

Councillor Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “We need to encourage more people to make the shift away from diesel and petrol vehicles to cleaner, greener electric versions but first we need to overcome some of the barriers that are preventing this.

“There is a wealth of innovative companies in our region who can help us come up with solutions and we look forward to seeing some of the ideas they can bring while supporting firms with a grant to make them a reality.”

For further information on the challenges and detail on how to apply for your chance to receive intensive business support and have the opportunity to win a £20,000 grant, visit https://supernetwork.org.uk/electric-vehicle-innovation-accelerator/ or email hello@supernetwork.org.uk.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on 19 July 2019.

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