It has been confirmed that Coventry will become home to the UK’s first ever state-of-the-art electric vehicle (EV) battery development facility.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark unveiled the plans that Coventry and Warwickshire will be the home of the new National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility (NMDF), with £80m of funding from the government’s flagship £246 million investment in battery technology.
The Faraday Battery Challenge will help establish the UK as one of the world leaders in electric vehicle battery technology and innovation.
The facility will be based in the West Midlands after a successful bid by a consortium led by Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, which includes Coventry City Council and Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick.
The new centre will build on the West Midlands reputation for automotive expertise and research and development (R&D) with a facility that will host cutting-edge production, assembly processes and support the future scale-up of battery technologies.
The most promising early and mid-stage battery research and development activities will be turned into commercially viable business propositions at the facility and will also be openly accessible to UK-based companies wishing to develop battery technologies.
Mr Clark said: “The new facility, based in Coventry and Warwickshire, will propel the UK forward in this thriving area, bringing together the best minds from academia and industry together to deliver innovation and R&D that will further enhance the West Midlands international reputation as a cluster of automotive excellence.”
Dr Ralf Speth, CEO Jaguar Land Rover, said: “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.”
Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of Warwick Manufacturing Group, said: “WMG, at the University of Warwick, has a strong record of industry innovation partnerships going back many years. We are delighted that we will be home to the National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility, a core part of the Faraday Battery Challenge.
“This joined up end-to-end approach will be a UK first, and is critical to ensure our fundamental research translates into sustaining and growing manufacturing jobs in the UK.”
The Business Secretary also announced the winners of £40m of additional Faraday Battery Challenge investment, allocated through Innovate UK led Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund innovation competitions.
27 innovative projects are being funded, involving 66 organisations, covering key technologies such as the development of battery materials and cell manufacturing and recycling and recyclability of battery packs.