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New electric vehicle battery centre could create 10,000 jobs

Ambitious plans outlined to house national centre to support development of batteries for electric vehicles of the future

(Image: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Up to 10,000 new jobs could be created in the West Midlands if the go-ahead is given to create a national centre to develop batteries for the electric vehicles of the future.

The ambitious scheme to create a national centre for battery technology for the next generation of self-driving, connected and electric vehicles forms part of a wider aim to see Coventry become a motor city for the 21st century.

The proposals for the National Battery Prototype Centre, developed by Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), were outlined at a gathering of industry leaders.

If the bid is successful, the centre would become part of the Whitley South Technology Campus in Coventry, close to the site where Jaguar Land Rover is currently expanding its operations.

If given the go-ahead the project has the potential to unlock 10,000 new jobs once it is running at full capacity.

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West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: "The West Midlands is the compelling choice for the National Battery Prototype Centre and I am proud to be leading from the front in presenting our case to government.

"I have committed to working as mayor to establish the West Midlands as a world-leading centre for advanced manufacturing, technology and the creative industries, life sciences, professional services, low carbon technology and construction.

"This proposal is part of that mission and we are optimistic of receiving support from the new government."

Former John Lewis boss Mr Street said creating the facility in Coventry would build on what the city had already achieved and put it at the forefront of developing the cars of the future.

He added: "The West Midlands is already the centre for the UK’s automotive industry.

"Now, we have a golden opportunity to reinvent ourselves as the global centre for self-driving, connected and electric vehicles.

"This facility would serve as a springboard for the continuing growth of automotive manufacturing in Coventry but the benefits will be felt across the region, the country and around the world.

"The national battery prototype facility will help the West Midlands lead the way in the production of electric vehicles, building on the highest level of investment in automotive research innovation in the country and a 150,000 strong supplier base.

"The West Midlands is in a race with the major automotive cities in Germany and the United States and securing this facility would help give us the inside track, which is why I will do everything possible to support the bid."

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