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The Faraday Institution will be housed in this building at Harwell in England. Photo: Harwell.

The U.K. has launched itself into the global race for a super battery, allocating $108 million for a new research center with the goal of competing with the U.S., China and others for a piece of the future electric car industry.

Quick take: By opening the Faraday Institution just south of Oxford, the U.K. joins a race that has been going on for a little less than a decade, pitting it against research and industry leaders China, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

The background: The U.S., China, Japan and South Korea have all put billions of dollars behind high-stakes efforts to develop much better batteries, and encourage the purchase of electric cars. In the U.K., the Faraday Institution is part of a larger, four-year initiative called the "Faraday Challenge," announced by the British government last year to create a U.K. electric car industry.

  • Peter Littlewood, Faraday's interim director, tells Axios that the center has already awarded some $60 million in funding for four battery projects as he quickly scales up, what he called "building the plane while you're flying it."
  • One of the projects is for a solid state battery, a holy grail of battery researchers everywhere because of the potential for much higher energy than current lithium-ion formulations. The lead scientist is Peter Bruce at Cambridge University, a star in the battery field.
  • "If you want to have a car manufacturing economy, you have to have a battery manufacturing economy," said Littlewood, who is also a professor at the University of Chicago.

Go deeper

Acting Capitol Police chief: Phone logs show Jan. 6 National Guard approval was delayed

Pittman at a congressional tribute for fallen officer Brian Sicknick. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman testified on Thursday that cellphone records show former USCP chief Steven Sund requested National Guard support from the House sergeant-at-arms as early as 12:58pm on Jan. 6, but he did not receive approval until over an hour later.

Why it matters: Sund and former House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving clashed at a Senate hearing on Tuesday over a dispute in the timeline for when Capitol Police requested the National Guard during the Capitol insurrection.

Manhattan prosecutors reportedly obtain millions of pages of Trump's tax records

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Manhattan district attorney is now in possession of millions of pages of former President Trump's tax and financial records, CNN first reported, following a Supreme Court ruling that allowed prosecutors to enforce a subpoena after a lengthy legal battle.

Why it matters: Trump fought for years to keep his tax returns out of the public eye and away from prosecutors in New York, who are examining his business in a criminal investigation that was first sparked by hush-money payments made by Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen during the 2016 election.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The digital dollar is now high priority for the Fed

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. is starting to get serious about a central-bank-backed digital currency, with recent comments from top officials laying out the strongest support yet.

Driving the news: On Tuesday Fed chair Jerome Powell told Congress that developing a digital dollar is a "high priority project for us," but added that there are "significant technical and policy questions."