As part of the UK’s ambitions to become a leading hub for the development of electric vehicles (EVs), Britain’s biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and the UK government have announced plans for the establishment of the core UK hub for EV battery production and development.
Joined by academics and business leaders for the announcement on Tuesday, the central UK players aim to create the National Battery Prototyping Centre (NBPC) in Coventry, which will become the home for EV development and testing in the UK.
UK automotive aims for the national test centre acting as a catapult for large-scale battery production at the historic centre of the UK auto industry. The city of Coventry is already home to the main London Taxi Company EV factory and major JLR research facilities at Warwick University. It also forms part of the key connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) cluster in the country, which stretches from Birmingham and Oxford to London.
JLR CEO Ralf Speth said the founding of the national battery centre would help JLR to commit to building electric vehicles in the UK, as is wishes to do. Its all-electric I-PACE SUV, which is set to beat rivals to market launching in 2018, will be made in Austria, and JLR has also gone overseas to Slovakia for a new production plant for its conventional vehicles. Speth says that in order for it to springboard major production in the UK, it requires considerable improvements to UK-based capabilities, including in pilot testing, support from science (often through universities) and in the UK’s energy supply (with UK energy being some of the most expensive in the world). At least in the first two areas, the UK government now looks set to deliver.
Read more: Autovista Group