The government has launched a £20m competition for companies to invent low carbon technology for cars.
The Technology Strategy Board - launched in July and sponsored by the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills - and the Department of Transport have backed the scheme with funding, and will award money to vehicle technologies with the clear potential to be commercially viable within five to seven years.
The funding will be available to support projects for cars, light commercial vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, buses and taxis.
The government says investment will go to "innovative companies" that are engaged in low-carbon vehicle research, and the scheme is part of the government's Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy.
Officials say tackling the growth of road transport carbon emissions, and meeting EU standards, are major challenges for the automotive industry. Significant technology innovation by industry will be required to meet these challenges, they say.
Transport Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, said, "Getting new low-carbon vehicle technology from lab to road is vital if we are to reduce the environmental impact of everyday travel."
The competition opened on 21 September 2007 and there will be an information day for potential participants on 4 October 2007. The deadline for companies to register their intention to submit an application is 5 December.
The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the government. Its mission is to promote and support research into technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business.