UK Government picks site for country’s push on electric vehicle technology
4 December 2017
In an effort to build itself as a leader in electric vehicle (EV) technology, the UK Government has picked a site in the West Midlands to build a new automotive battery manufacturing development facility.
The National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility, as it will be named, comes thanks to a partnership between the Warwick Manufacturing Group, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Coventry City Council.
The site will be built in Warwickshire to enable ‘effective partnerships between manufacturers, researchers, and economic development leaders’, benefitting from its close location to several of the UK’s biggest car makers according to the Government.
The government announced plans with Jaguar Land Rover to build a prototyping centre for battery development in June. Announcing the investment and location choice, UK business minister Greg Clark said the centre would help Britain compete globally.
‘The new facility will propel the UK forward in this thriving area, bringing experts from academia and industry together to deliver innovation and research and development that will further enhance the West Midlands’ international reputation as a cluster of automotive excellence,’ he said.
The region's mayor, Andy Street, said the investment could help in intensifying efforts to improve air quality.
‘If we get this right, we will not only create jobs and establish this industry in our region, but we can also provide a solution for the world to help tackle issues such as congestion and air pollution,’ he said.
Dr Ralf Speth, CEO Jaguar Land Rover, added: ‘If the UK wants to stay competitive and make domestic EV manufacturing viable in the long run, a high level of ambition is required as set out in the Industrial Strategy. JLR is already investing heavily to make the vision of autonomous and electric mobility come true. From 2020, all of our new vehicles will be electrified with mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric solutions, and these are already being designed in the West Midlands. We also intend to produce battery electric vehicles in the region, bringing the West Midlands to the forefront of modern mobility in the UK.’
The site is tasked with producing technology and building EV powertrains that can better international benchmarks and supply manufacturers building their vehicles in Britain. The research will focus on boosting battery technology to enable improvements in the field, with chemistry, electrodes, cell design, and module and pack levels all being researched to improve the technology.
As such, the partnership expects the site to draw in international investment and become a talent hub for employees skilled in this industry.
The National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility is part of the UK Government’s £246m Faraday Challenge and was awarded its funding through a competition led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, which features its own battery facility headed by Williams Advanced Engineering.
It also comes as part of the government’s recently announced Industrial Strategy, which outlined plans for Britain to ramp up its pace of progress with electric and autonomous vehicle technology.