UPDATE 1-Dyson chooses Singapore over Britain to build electric car

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LONDON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - James Dyson, the billionaire British inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, has chosen to build his electric car in Singapore to be close to Asian customers, supply chains and a highly skilled workforce.

The 71-year-old entrepreneur, who backed Brexit in the 2016 referendum, is pumping 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) into the launch of an electric car, with a 400-strong British-based engineering team working in secret for the first 2 1/2 years on the project.

Dyson is looking to exploit his company's expertise in solid-state battery technology and electric motors that are found in his innovative vacuum cleaners and other products like bladeless fans and air purifiers.

Dyson was a prominent backer of Britain's vote to leave the European Union. He has argued that Britain's future lies in building close ties with fast growing markets in Asia, and not Europe.

"The decision of where to make our car is complex, based on supply chains, access to markets, and the availability of the expertise that will help us achieve our ambitions," Dyson Chief Executive Jim Rowan said.

The company has announced plans to invest 200 million pounds in new buildings and a testing track at its campus in Wiltshire, western England.

One of Britain's most successful engineering companies, it already employs 1,100 people in Singapore, where it makes digital electric motors.

A new two-story purpose-build production manufacturing facility is due to be completed in Singapore in 2020, with the first cars on course to be launched in 2021. ($1 = 0.7692 pounds) (Reporting by Paul Sandle; writing by Kate Holton; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)