Authors: Caolan Lemke, Chad Eggerman
On July 9, 2020, the British Columbia government announced the availability of $4.18 million in new funding under CleanBC’s Advanced Research and Commercialization (ARC) program for B.C. companies developing new technologies in the electric vehicle and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sector.
The funding initiative is intended to boost the province’s economic recovery following the pandemic and signifies B.C.’s commitment to sustainable energy programs and a robust clean-tech industry.
Summary of Key Information
- Submission Deadline: The ARC program is currently accepting Expressions of Interest (EOIs) on a continuous basis until August 14, 2020.
- Eligible Projects: B.C. based ZEV products, services or technologies.
- Eligible Activities: Pre-commercial research and development, commercialization and demonstration of new products, services or technologies.
- Exclusions: Marketing activities or consumer-based activities.
- Eligible Applicants:
- Primary applicants – private entities or organizations validly incorporated or registered in Canada and operating in B.C.
- Project partners – any entities operating within Canada or internationally.
History of ARC Program
The ARC program is one of a suite of programs offered under B.C.’s CleanBC Go Electric Program. It was created in 2018 to support growth of the ZEV sector by providing targeted funding for research and development to showcase B.C. technologies with potential for global demand and to support the commercialization of B.C. companies engaged in innovation in the ZEV sector. The ARC program aims to increase employment opportunities for British Columbians, to attract and encourage international investment within the province and to expand the export of B.C. based ZEV products, services and technologies. The program is funded through B.C.’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and is administered by MNP LLP.
In 2019, 27 EOIs were received in response to ARC’s first funding call. Six applicants were invited to submit full proposals and five projects were selected to receive a total of $1.19M in funding. Funding has been expanded to $4.18M in 2020. Funding submissions to the ARC program will be reviewed by a panel of experts from all levels of government and B.C. post-secondary institutions.
Eligible Applicants and Projects
Eligible applicants include any private entity or organization (including publicly traded companies) validly incorporated or registered in Canada and operating in B.C. Publicly funded institutions are ineligible to apply as a primary applicant, but may provide support to applicants as project partners. Applicants may (and are encouraged to) form consortiums comprised of the primary applicant and a non-related partner organization (including publicly funded institutions) who has committed to providing the applicant with expertise, cash or services to the project. Project partners are not required to be located in or operate within B.C. or Canada.
Provided that an applicant’s activities relate to a B.C. based ZEV product, service or technology that is at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of three or higher (per Innovation Canada guidelines) (an “Eligible Project”), applicants may operate in any aspect of the ZEV supply chain, from obtaining raw materials to manufacturing final consumer products, whether these activities are related to vehicles or vehicle components, fuel and infrastructure, or transferable technologies and services. ZEVs are defined broadly to include battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles across all vehicle types (on- and off-road) and all vehicle classifications (light, medium and heavy-duty).
General categories of activities eligible for funding include:
- pre-commercial research and development;
- commercialization including investments in manufacturing facilities or processes; and
- use or demonstration of new product, services or technology.
The ARC program is not currently intended to fund marketing activities (including attendance at trade shows) or consumer-based activities (such as purchase or sales incentives) in the ZEV sector.
All project costs must be incurred in B.C. and proponents must commit to satisfying 25% of the total project costs (and be able to demonstrate additional funding through other sources). Leveraging external funding sources (including ‘grant stacking’ and consortium funding) is encouraged, provided that aggregate contributions from the B.C. government do not exceed 50% of the total project cost. Proponents may also leverage work from other project partners (including extra-provincial and international partners), but any associated costs will not be eligible for ARC funding.
Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate that their proposed project is an Eligible Project that:
- has strong commercialization and market adoption potential;
- showcases innovation, creativity and/or pursuit of excellence in its field;
- promotes synergies/collaboration within B.C.’s ZEV sector;
- provides positive economic benefits;
- leverages external funding sources;
- demonstrates strong potential for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions;
- has a reasonable scope and timeline for project completion (with an outside completion date of no later than three years after the project start date);
- a project management team with capacity to carry out the proposed initiative; and
- demonstrates reasonable project expenses.