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The U.K. government and auto industry have announced a combined $1 billion ($1.5 billion) in funding over a decade for a new center that will act as a hub for low-carbon automotive technology. Members of the auto industry, which are pledging half the funds, include BMW Group, Lotus, Bentley, Nissan, McLaren Automotive, Jaguar, BP and a couple dozen more, and the groups are estimating that the center could create 30,000 jobs total.
The U.K. government says by 2040 almost none of the new cars manufactured in Europe will be powered only by diesel or gasoline — they will all have a low-carbon component like hybrid technology, plug-in technology or compatibility with biofuels. And while many of the U.K.’s car companies have led the way on low-carbon car tech, only a third of the parts that go into U.K. made cars are manufactured in the U.K. The government is calling the new center “The Advanced Propulsion Centre” or APC.
At the same time, the U.K.’s Technology Strategy Board launched a $15 million competition to attract low carbon automotive projects that the organization says will be fast tracked for commercialization through the Advanced Propulsion Center.
The U.K. is a growing market for electric car technology, thanks to high gas prices and aggressive country and city policies to promote electric cars. For example, London’s congestion charge system — which charges people that want to drive into the center of London during certain hours — only exempts plug-in cars now, not non-plug-in cars like the Prius.