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The announcement that Coventry and Warwickshire will be the home of the new £80 million National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility (NBMDF) will “only enhance the reputation” of the region.
Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, made the announcement that the area had won the national competition for the new centre, while attending an energy conference at the University of Warwick.
The bid was made by WMG at the University of Warwick, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Coventry City Council, and the NBMDF will see the development of the next generation of battery systems across battery chemistry, electrodes, cell design, module and pack level and will see a partnership between academia and industry.
Jonathan Browning, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said the successful bid had been a total team effort.
He said: “This is excellent news on every level. We have worked very closely with our partners WMG and Coventry City Council with support from the West Midlands mayor and that joined-up approach not only maximised our effectiveness but sent a powerful message to government.
“We believe we are uniquely placed with our links between industry and academia to bring the National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility to fruition and it will give huge opportunities to local companies of all sizes and will continue our push to be world leader in advanced research and manufacturing, especially in the automotive and transport sector.
“It will also further enhance our reputation as the Knowledge Capital of the UK in the field of engineering R&D.”
WMG have a strong record of accomplishment working with the automotive sector over the last 15 years to develop and prove new battery technologies. There will be a direct transfer of the research from universities to the next stage of manufacturing, taking research from the lab to market.
A suitable site for the development will now be sought.
Coventry City Councillor Jim O'Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration and CWLEP board director, said: “It's brilliant news that government has decided the country's new National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility should be located here.
"I'm glad the final decision has been made and of course I'm delighted that my home city will once again be at the cutting-edge of the automotive sector. For many years our city and region provided the innovation and skilled workforce to help the UK lead the world.
“Car manufacturing provided a secure, well paid job for thousands of Coventry people, including me. And now battery development has the potential to do the same for a whole new generation of Coventry people.
"I hope battery development will create thousands of new jobs and if there is one thing we know for certain, it's that having a job changes lives. That's the real reason this is such good news. And Coventry of course is the it's the perfect choice. We have a rich heritage in motor vehicle manufacture and it's only right that we will once again lead the way with this pioneering new technology.
“Clean air vehicles and autonomous cars are the future and now the centre of excellence will be here right where it belongs. It’s the public sector, industry and education working together that has got us to this point today but now it’s time for the real work to begin.”
The £80m was awarded through a competition led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, supported by Innovate UK as part of the Faraday Challenge - a £246m commitment over the next four years on battery development for the automotive sector.