CIVIC leaders say they are excited about the prospect of thousands of new jobs being created by the national battery technology centre for Coventry and Warwickshire.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, has welcomed the news of an £80million government grant for pioneering work in research and development of battery innovation.
He also said it could be a resurrection of the automotive industry in Coventry.
Representatives from the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) say the new facility will enable UK based companies and researchers to come together to build and maintain a world leading position in manufacturing technologies for batteries and their components in pioneering new electric vehicles.
The WMG is an alliance between the Coventry City Council, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the University of Warwick.
Coun O’Boyle, who is also a Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterpise Partnership 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 £80million was awarded through a competition led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, supported by Innovate UK as part of the Faraday Challenge.
The grant includes a £246million commitment over the next four years on battery development for the automotive sector.
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.”
Coventry and Warwickshire’s Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the news, alongside an announcement of aerospace company Meggitt moving to Ansty Park, while closing its Holbrook Lane plant.
Louise Bennett, CEO of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “These are both major announcements which will bring cutting-edge jobs and research to Coventry and Warwickshire further enhancing our international reputation in that sector.
“Our area offers an attractive investment opportunity because of that pedigree in the engineering sector, our two universities and the many world-renowned companies based here.”