Britain Pledges $35 Million Into Researching Electric-Car Batteries

Alex Morales

(Bloomberg) -- Business Secretary Greg Clark pledged 28 million pounds ($36 million) to research electric car batteries as he pushes for the U.K. to establish an industry-leading factory.

The cash for the Coventry, central England-based Battery Industrialisation Centre adds to an initial investment of 80 million pounds, Clark’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said on Thursday in a statement. The government aims to fund testing facilities for new battery technologies as well as workforce training programs.

“Putting the U.K. at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles is at the heart of our plans," Business Minister Andrew Stephenson said in the statement.

The project is part of a broader aim for Britain to build a so-called Gigafactory -- a large-scale battery factory that would cater for car companies that manufacture in Britain, including Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc and Nissan Motor Co.

Development of electric vehicles is also a crucial component of Britain’s plan to slash greenhouse gases.

For the government, there’s a wider problem of retaining manufacturers as uncertainty created by Brexit undermines production lines. Honda Motor Co. earlier this week confirmed it will close its U.K. factory in 2021 at the cost of 3,500 jobs. Also this year, Nissan scrapped plans to build a new car model in Sunderland, northeast England, while Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc has also announced thousands of job cuts.

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