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Business & Economy

Electric vehicle accelerator programme enters new phase

A £20,000 grant could be made available to North East businesses with transformative solutions to help the region’s long-term shift away from petrol and diesel vehicles.

The ERDF-funded electric vehicle accelerator programme is making the grant available to local businesses that can develop their ideas.

The scheme has been launched to encourage start-up and well-established companies work out solutions to challenges inhibiting the take up of electric vehicles (EVs), both regionally and nationally.

Ideas should attempt to help the North East transition to a cleaner society and assist with increasing the uptake of EVs, reducing pollution levels and making the environment a better place for everyone.

Solutions are sought for key challenges such as 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 commercial potential but could come from any sector.

The £20,000 innovation scheme is part of the Go Ultra Low North East campaign and has been designed to provide business support to successful applicants.

It is being delivered on behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee by the Innovation SuperNetwork and ENGIE, with a view towards the decarbonisation of road transportation, which is a global and national ambition.

Simon Green, CEO of the Innovation SuperNetwork, 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.”

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.”