What is the future of low carbon vehicle technologies? – APC Technology Roadmap -

5 min read

15 September 2021

It is now common knowledge that transport is amongst the key industries which must achieve the net zero target.

The UK recognised the importance and took early action to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport sector, which accounts for about 25% of the country’s total carbon emissions.


The UK hosted the first “Zero Emission Vehicle Summit” in 2018 as reported in our article

In the Summit, it was announced that the UK would be at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles and has since become the first major economy to embrace a legal obligation to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The UK has set out several key milestones for decarbonisation that include ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030 and eliminating tailpipe emissions in all new cars and vans by 2035. 


The UK Government’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution and its recent Transport Decarbonisation Plan set out actions to deliver these targets.


One of the key players in achieving this initiative is the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

Amongst all the invaluable expertise APC has shared, we would like to highlight their “Technology Roadmaps 2020” that were produced in partnership with the UK Automotive Council and automotive industry.


At OBM, we supported APC to prepare the Japanese version.

These Roadmaps, which have been updated since the last reports in 2017, show the trends and forecasts for automotive propulsion systems towards 2040, based on the collaboration with 150 industry and academic organisations globally.


The Roadmaps feature not only the technology trends but cover wider areas including materials and recycling.  Each roadmap is supplemented with an accompanying narrative report that provides in-depth insights and indicators into the technology with the aim to help build collaborative R&D opportunities to address future mobility challenges and accelerate and deliver world-class solutions. 


We trust that these insights are helpful for automotive OEMs and suppliers and even beyond the automotive industry such as the energy industry, where similar technologies are applied.


The Roadmaps and supplementary narrative reports cover the following six technologies: -


- Electrical Energy Storage – an in-depth look into battery technologies split into Cells and Packs, provides insights into chemistries, construction and industrialisation for mass-market adoption. 


- Electric Machines – provides key trends, themes and technologies on electric machine architectures, integration, thermal management, materials and manufacturing driving innovation in the future. 


- Power Electronics – a rapidly evolving and dynamic sector for automotive propulsion technologies with inverters, DC-DC converters and on-board charger applications driving cost and performance improvements. 


- Thermal Propulsion Systems – a bedrock technology that is driving improvement in engine efficiency and adopting net-zero fuels on the backdrop of increasingly stringent decarbonisation legislation. 


- Lightweight Vehicle & Powertrain Structure – a well established topic, taking new approaches on vehicle platform architecture, mixed materials and future LCA-capable materials to delivering future vehicle weight reductions. 


- Fuel Cell – a brand new roadmap in 2020, providing a comprehensive outlook on fuel cell stacks, balance of system and fuel management towards industrialisation. A promising chemical to mechanical powertrain solution for the future.


The roadmaps and narrative reports can be downloaded from the APC website.

The narrative reports are available to download in English, Japanese, Korean, German, and Chinese.



【 About APC】


APC collaborates with UK government, the automotive industry and academia to accelerate the industrialisation of technologies including facilitating funding, supporting collaboration, and providing expertise and insight. 


Since its foundation in 2013, APC has funded 170 low-carbon projects involving 402 partners, working with companies of all sizes, and has helped to create or safeguard nearly 50,000 jobs in the UK.

The technologies developed in these projects are projected to save over 288 million tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of removing the lifetime emissions from 12 million cars.


APC supports not only the UK automotive industry but encourages international collaboration such as the Japanese-UK relationship through one of its funding programmes - the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF). The UK is in the process of building a comprehensive electrified end-to-end supply chain for the global market.

This includes attracting and supporting the inward investment necessary to support large-scale gigafactories, as well as helping emerging UK-based technology manufacturers to commercialise and scale up their operations to compete globally.


A recent example of this is the announcement from Nissan and Envision AESC that they plan to build a £1bn EV hub in Sunderland. APC worked closely with both parties in the run up to the announcement which included supporting an application for funding from the ATF.


Through the ATF, the APC together with partners in the UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT) provide investors looking to invest in the UK with support for site selection, permit processing and engaging with government departments.

APC work to understand the needs of individual companies, speed up the process and help projects succeed in the UK.



APC’s recent article gives a global perspective on the opportunities for the automotive industry and highlights the importance of greater Japanese-British collaboration to achieve net-zero goals.


If you are interested in getting involved in low carbon vehicles R&D and business establishment in the UK, please contact us . 

We will guide you in the right direction.