A NEW state of the art battery plant which will play a huge part in the drive towards enabling electric cars to charge faster, has opened near Didcot.

The Johnson Matthey’s Battery Technology Centre officially opened on Friday morning. The new plant will create jobs for the local area and a hub for skills in the battery space.

The company said that the shift to electric cars is crucial to a net zero future. Johnson Matthey’s science and technology says they are at the heart of this shift, with next generation battery materials that will enable electric cars to drive further and recharge faster.

The company has also announced a new commitment to be net zero by 2040.

Robert MacLeod, Chief Executive, said: “This new facility represents an important milestone on our journey towards developing a sustainable battery materials ecosystem and emphasises the progress we are making on the commercialisation of our battery materials business. Johnson Matthey has a growing range of solutions to help society decarbonise at scale, and at the same time we are doing our bit by driving our own operations and supply chains to achieve net zero by 2040.”

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The new Battery Technology Centre is the companies flagship centre where it will make and perform test development scale quantities of battery materials for electric cars tailored to customers’ specific applications.

It represents a £13 million investment for JM, part of a wider and significant investment in battery materials technology and will create around 30 new highly skilled jobs.

Business Secretary Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP officially opened the centre and said: “I am delighted to open this exciting state of the art Battery Technology Centre at the heart of Oxfordshire’s innovation economy. This centre has a vital role to play in our plans to drive forward new, cost-effective technology that will make adopting electric vehicles more convenient for motorists as we transition away from diesel and petrol cars.”

He added: “Backing new battery technology and electrifying the auto supply chain is at the heart of our plans to put the UK at the forefront of the global green industrial revolution and to build back better from the pandemic, and I’m delighted Johnson Matthey is playing a key role in this endeavour.”