4TH MAY, 2021

How R&D into Electric Car Batteries is Leading the Way to a Greener Future

Working towards the government’s net-zero ambition

Companies up and down the UK are set to benefit from a £23 million government investment, designed to put the country at the forefront of electric vehicle technology development. With public awareness around climate change and environmental sustainability increasing, the pressure is on to make the cars of tomorrow greener and more economical than ever - particularly with car batteries.

The Faraday Battery Challenge, part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, aims to bring together the UK’s leading technologists and academic figures to develop the latest electric car battery technology. It’s hugely important to the UK’s net-zero ambition. The initiative will also be a key contributor in the aim to make all new cars and vans effectively carbon neutral by 2040.

Car batteries of the future

Car batteries have been around since cars themselves were invented back in the 1860s. Most people are familiar with the liquid lead-acid rechargeable batteries commonly found in cars today. These batteries are powerful but have had to become even more powerful to accommodate the additional safety features and entertainment gadgets that have been added to even the most basic car models. However, despite their power and reliability, modern car batteries still contain hazardous materials such as sulfuric acid and lead. Careful disposal is essential, as they can easily harm those handling them.

Therefore, the challenge to create the greenest, most powerful battery to date is on. Especially as more and more of us are turning to electric cars instead of petrol or diesel models.

Research and development will be required to enhance the performance of LiOn batteries whilst at the same time reducing their production and disposal costs. The batteries themselves need to become cheaper to buy, and more versatile too.

But, thanks to recently conducted R&D, lithium-cobalt (LiCoO2) batteries are now found in most mobile phones, digital cameras, wearable products and laptops. Lithium-manganese (LiMn2O4) ones are also typically found in medical instruments, power tools and electric powertrains (including some electric vehicles). And, the technology is becoming more powerful, cheaper, greener and lighter too.

Going forwards, R&D is also being used to increase the longevity and performance of lithium-based batteries. One exciting development is in the form of Lithium-air (Li-Air) batteries that have a far larger energy storage capacity - as much as 10 times more than a standard LiOn battery. They work by using oxygen to oxidise the anode. Although, there are still a few teething problems to iron out, including a tendency to suddenly go flat without warning!

A new battery research centre in the West Midlands

The UK has recently taken an important step forward in the electric car revolution with a new battery research centre set to be built in the West Midlands. Indeed, planning consent has already been given for the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) in Coventry, the country’s car-making centre. Tipped to be at the forefront of modern research into battery technology and manufacturing, in 2019 Business Secretary Greg Clark unveiled an £80 million government grant to bring the project to fruition. It’s an exciting move, with plans to make the centre a hub for academics, technologists and researchers alike. A range of R&D activities will take place here, including building new types of batteries and components for cars, and even building whole new ways of generating power.

What government help is available for innovative companies looking to undertake R&D in new technologies?

There are several government-backed incentives that help fund innovative ventures in scientific or technological advancement, not just car batteries.

Two of the main ones are R&D Tax Credits and R&D Grants.

What are R&D Tax Credits?

Research and development (R&D) Tax Credits are a government tax relief scheme that rewards innovative UK companies. The scheme provides companies with financial support so they can develop new products, processes or services, or improving existing ones.

Claims can be worth as much as 33 pence for every £1 spent on innovation, which can make even relatively small claims worth thousands.

What R&D work may attract the relief?

Tax Cloud is a self-service online R&D tax claim portal. Powered by Myriad Associates, we can work with you to uncover all of the expenditure that’s relevant to your claim. These are typically things like:

  • Staffing costs like wages, overtime, expenses
  • Costs relating to employer NIC contributions and pension payments
  • Some types of software
  • Overheads and materials used up specifically in the R&D work only
  • Payments made to freelancers, subcontractors and anyone who volunteered for clinical trial work

With such a broad spectrum of R&D projects and costs, your business could be missing out on some serious money by not claiming. Now is the perfect time to try our R&D tax relief portal to see what support you could receive and get your application started.

And R&D Grants?

R&D grants are offered to help fund the development of an innovative product, process or service and don’t need to be repaid. The innovation doesn't necessarily need to be brand new, but it does need to have made a substantial improvement to an existing product if it’s to win support.

Companies looking for R&D grant funding need to enter stiff competitions which occur regularly. Money is typically offered to support a specific project that will take a finite amount of time, rather than something that’s ongoing. Project length is usually between 6 months and 3 years.

You can find out more about R&D grants and how to apply on the R&D Grants page of the Myriad Associates website.

Contact the R&D tax experts today

The skilled and experienced team at Myriad Associates created the Tax Cloud portal to make R&D tax claims more straightforward. With tailor-made sections for both accountants and businesses, it’s designed to help you work out exactly how much you can claim before taking you through the fully guided steps to make your R&D Tax Credit application.

Sign up to the Tax Cloud portal today, use our contact form or call us on 0207 118 6045 to discuss your options and ask any questions. Our experienced R&D accountants and advisors will be very pleased to advise you, and you could end up thousands of pounds better off.

Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA
Author Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA CEO, Tax Cloud
Start your Tax Cloud claim now Discover if you qualify and ensure your R&D tax claim is maximised. Get started
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Myriad Associates are the creators of Tax Cloud, we help enterprises navigate, apply and secure tax incentives and grants. We specialise in R&D Tax Credits, Creative Tax Reliefs, Innovate UK grants, Horizons Europe grants, and R&D Capital Allowance Claims.

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Barrie Dowsett Barrie Dowsett ACMA CGMA Chief Executive Officer
Jillian Chambers Jillian Chambers Technical Analyst/Writer
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Rabia Mohammad Rabia Mohammad Corporate Tax Associate