| 11:25 AM EST

U.K. Pledges $1.5 Billion for Engine Research


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Posted: July 15, 2013 at 2:04 am

The British government and a group of 27 carmakers and suppliers have agreed to invest a combined £1 billion ($1.5 billion) over the next 10 years to develop next-generation powertrain technologies and bring them to market.

Their effort will be coordinated through an Advanced Propulsion Centre to be built at an unspecified location in the U.K., according to the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The government says that by 2040, almost none of Europe’s new passenger vehicles will be powered solely by traditional gasoline or diesel engines. The ministry describes the new initiative as a preemptive step to secure at least 30,000 British jobs currently related to engine production.

The R&D program is part of a broader government-industry effort to bolster the long-term health of the British auto industry. Last year the country produced nearly 1.6 million vehicles and exported more than 80% of its output.

But two-thirds of the components for those vehicles were sourced outside the U.K. The government describes the British auto industry’s supply chain as “relatively weak” and facing strong competition from other countries that are already supporting advanced manufacturing.