£30m government funding for cars of the future including Cheshire magnet plant

The Government is funding a new plant in Cheshire to make magnets for use in cars.

It is part of an overall £30m investment to boost pioneering research into battery technology, the electric vehicle supply chain and hydrogen vehicles.

Twenty two studies will receive a share of £9.4m, including proposals to build a plant in Cornwall that will extract lithium for use in electric vehicle batteries, a plant to build specialised magnets for electric vehicle motors in Cheshire, and lightweight hydrogen storage for cars and vans in Loughborough.

The Government-backed Faraday Institution is also committing £22.6m to continue its work to further improve the safety, reliability and sustainability of batteries.

This funding comes ahead of the phasing out of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, as pledged in the Government’s 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution.

Research into alternative ways to power vehicles is a fundamental part of this transition, ensuring the UK remains a world leader in automotive technology and boosting jobs and skills in regions leading the way.

Technology in batteries for electric vehicles is vital to the UK’s car industry, including the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port which is currently waiting to hear its fate and the fate of its 1,000-strong workforce from owner Stellantis.

Bosses are considering whether to build electric cars at the Cheshire site, or shift production to Europe, and talks are ongoing with the Government over its support for the industry.

Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone said today: “We have set an ambitious target to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. To support that it is crucial we invest in research so we can power ahead with the shift to electric vehicles as we build back greener from the pandemic.

“The world leading research announced today showcases the very best of British innovation and it will support all stages of the automotive supply chain to make the switch to electric vehicles – from developing batteries, to exploring how to recycle them.”

Investment in battery technology will help motorists and the environment by improving performance and reducing costs of electric vehicles.

It is also good for businesses and workers, supporting the creation of new jobs, new industries and the development of technologies to power the automotive and energy revolution in the UK, said Mr Grimstone.

The Cheshire investment is linked to a study that has identified a promising approach to create a new UK magnet plant that will produce high quality lightweight magnets for motors in electric vehicles.