November 29, 2017 / 2:34 PM / a year ago

UK picks central England location for new electric battery hub

LONDON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Britain has picked a site in central England to house a new automotive battery manufacturing development facility, in a move which ministers and companies hope will lead to large-scale local production.

Carmakers are racing to build greener vehicles and improve charge times in a bid to meet rising customer demand and air quality targets but Britain lacks sufficient manufacturing capacity, an area the government wants to build up.

The site in the West Midlands, being developed in partnership with Warwick University’s Manufacturing Group, will benefit from 80 million pounds ($107 million) of investment to develop the processes required to manufacture the latest battery technology.

Announcing the investment, business minister Greg Clark said the new centre will help Britain compete globally.

“The new facility... will propel the UK forward in this thriving area, bringing experts from academia and industry together to deliver innovation and R&D that will further enhance the West Midlands’ international reputation as a cluster of automotive excellence,” he said.

The region’s mayor Andy Street said the investment could help in intensifying efforts to improve air quality.

“If we get this right, we will not only create jobs and establish this industry in our region, but we can also provide a solution for the world to help tackle issues such as congestion and air pollution,” he said. (Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison)

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