LONDON (Reuters) - The British government is aiming to speed up the commercialization of low-carbon vehicle technologies with public and private sector investment totaling 56 million pounds ($86.9 million), the UK's innovation agency said on Tuesday.
Over 27 million pounds of public funding, along with 29 million pounds of private sector money, will be invested in 17 research and development projects led by carmakers such as Ford, Jaguar, LandRover and Nissan, the Technology Strategy Board said in a statement.
"Accelerating the commercialization of low-carbon vehicle technologies will help to achieve our challenging climate change targets as well as creating new jobs, and increasing opportunities for UK businesses on the world stage," said transport minister Norman Baker.
The road transport sector's emissions are growing rapidly. Between 1990 and 2008, emissions from the sector increased by 26 percent, according to European Union Commission data.
Car manufacturers are under increasing pressure to reduce vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions to meet EU regulations. Each manufacturer can face heavy fines if they do not achieve specific CO2 emissions targets.
Earlier this month, the EU Commission outlined plans to tighten limits on how much carbon dioxide new cars can emit, although the proposal has to go through a long negotiation process before becoming law.
Carmakers are working on new technologies to reduce the emissions of conventional-fuelled cars, as well as developing low-carbon cars like electric vehicles and hybrids. ($1 = 0.6447 British pounds)
(Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Alison Birrane)