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Zero emission road freight battery and hydrogen demonstration

Fund Name

Zero emission road freight battery and hydrogen demonstration

Project Length

5 year project

Project Value




Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Department for Transport to invest up to £140 million in innovation projects. As part of the Zero Emission Road Freight (ZERFT) Demonstration programme, this competition will focus on the largest heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The programme will support government’s commitment to end sales of all new, non-zero emission HGVs by 2040 and enable continued cross border freight.

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Fund Details

This strand will fund multi-year on-road combined demonstrations of battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) as part of your standard freight operations.

Your project’s size must enable a demonstration of at least 40 trucks split between at least 4 operators and supported by at least 3 recharging or hydrogen refuelling locations. Your application must meet this scale and have a grant funding request of between £30 million and £140 million.

Your proposal must:

  • define the demonstration that you plan to conduct, including all associated costs and the range of operational use cases that you will demonstrate
  • focus on long-haul articulated heavy goods vehicles (40-44t gross vehicle weight) and developing a sustainable and scalable approach to zero emission road freight
  • present a well-rounded and industrially driven consortium capable of rapid deployment
  • evidence that you can acquire the vehicles and supply the infrastructure needed to carry out a successful demonstration in the required timeframe
  • define a demonstration which has a viable route to expanding nationally and internationally, as part of your long term strategy to decarbonise this sector

Demonstration-specific requirements

You must:

  • conduct an ambitious demonstration with focus on the most difficult to decarbonise HGV applications, including long-haul and long-duration high speed operations
  • focus on high utilisation of vehicles and infrastructure, and potential multi-shift operations, to maximise value for money, explore commercial viability and inform an optimal Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
  • operate zero emission HGVs in various types of locations, whilst performing a range of duty cycles to reflect the variety in HGV operations
  • concentrate some vehicles around your key locations or infrastructure to explore factors associated with future high saturation deployments, fully exploring the boundaries and capabilities of the technology and infrastructure
  • ensure all vehicles funded in your project are in operation by 31st March 2025, vehicles can be deployed earlier or in stages if desired
  • ensure adequate training is provided for all those using the vehicles or infrastructure
  • ensure there are appropriate repair and maintenance provisions for your vehicles and infrastructure
  • share your project’s learning before, during and after your demonstration, both independently and by supporting activities organised by the funders or their agents
  • collaborate fully with organisations responsible for regulation, safety and incident response to conduct a safe demonstration
  • maximise UK value in terms of supply chain and deployment

International freight operations are acceptable, but we will not fund infrastructure or operations originating outside the UK.

Successful projects and operators demonstrating vehicles will be required to engage with contractors from Innovate UK and Department for Transport (DfT). They are independently evaluating the zero emission road freight demonstrations, see background and supporting information.

Vehicle-specific requirements

You must:

  • focus on use of state of the art vehicles that can be scaled, such as those produced by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
  • use articulated HGVs, specifically 6×2 or 4×2 axle tractors and semi-trailers with 40-44t gross vehicle weight (GVW)
  • only use a combination of battery electric HGVs and hydrogen fuel cell HGVs
  • ensure any ancillary equipment is zero emission in use, including cabin heaters and trailer refrigeration units
  • ensure vehicles are capable of long haul operations
  • include usage of systems which provide vehicle traction power to ancillary equipment, for example power take-off (PTO)
  • ensure demonstrated vehicles meet all safety, regulatory and legal requirements

Infrastructure-specific requirements

You must:

  • ensure all proposed infrastructure funded through the programme is accessible to other operators outside the consortia by appointment
  • ensure infrastructure is located to enable a variety of operations including on-route recharging and refuelling
  • utilise a proportion of state-of-the-art infrastructure, with the theoretical capability of charging vehicles at around 1MW DC peak
  • utilise a proportion of state of the art infrastructure, capable of refuelling multiple vehicles rapidly and back-to-back
  • ensure use of hydrogen that meets the UK’s draft low carbon hydrogen standard, such as that
  • produced using renewable electricity
  • meet all safety, regulatory and legal requirements
  • align with current and emerging international standards
  • describe any decommissioning that is required at the conclusion of the demonstration (infrastructure which can viably be repurposed does not require decommissioning)


Your project must:

  • start on 1 March 2023
  • claim the grant funding by 31 March 2025
  • complete your project and 5 year demonstration of all vehicles funded by the programme no later than 31 March 2030
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations

Talk to us today if you would like to apply for this opportunity.

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