The U.K. government launches the Faraday Challenge, a £246 million ($321 million) program to boost expertise in vehicle-battery technology and develop the capabilities of the region’s electric-vehicle battery supply chain.

Business Secretary Greg Clark says the first phase of the challenge includes a £45 million ($59 million) competition to establish a center for battery research to ensure the U.K. leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries.

The 4-year investment challenge is a key part of the government’s strategy to deliver a coordinated program of competitions to boost both the research and development of expertise in battery technology.

The challenge is named after Michael Faraday (1791-1867), an English scientist who contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His main discoveries include the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis.

The Automotive Council has set targets for the Faraday Challenge to meet by 2035: Reduce battery cell cost from £100 ($130)/kWh to £38 ($49.50)/kWh; double a battery cell’s energy density, from 250 Wh/kg to 500 Wh/kg; increase a battery cell’s coldest operating temperature from -20° C to -40° C (-4˚ C to -40° F) and hottest operating temperature from 60° C to 80° C (140° F to 176° F); and to improve a battery pack’s recyclability from 10%-50% to 95%

Philip Nelson, CEO of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, says batteries will form a cornerstone of a low-carbon economy.

“The Faraday Challenge is a new way of working,” Nelson says. “It will bring together the best minds in the field, draw on others from different disciplines and link intimately with industry, innovators and other funders, such as InnovateU.K., to ensure we maintain that our world-leading position and keep the pipeline of fundamental science to innovation flowing.”

As part of the challenge, the Advanced Propulsion Centre has launched a competition to facilitate funding of the U.K.’s first automotive battery-manufacturing development center, in conjunction with Innovate U.K.

Garry Wilson, the center’s business-development director, says the facility will allow future battery technologies to be scaled up for high-volume production.

“The new national battery-manufacturing development facility will be a national asset and the first of its kind being open to all U.K.-located organizations to develop manufacturing processes for their concept-ready battery technologies at production rates appropriate to ‘giga-’ factories,” Wilson says.

“The objective is that these processes can transfer to U.K. high-volume battery manufacturing facilities helping to establish the U.K. as a center for battery research, development and manufacture.”

Francisco Carranza, director-Energy Services for Nissan Europe, welcomes the U.K. government move.

“Renewable energy storage will have a fundamental impact on the shift from fossil fuels to renewables,” he says. “Nissan has been saying for a long time that the future is electric.”