20 May, 2019

Zero-emission vehicle boost for the UK

A new Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) in Coventry is set to jump-start the UK’s investment in cutting-edge electric vehicle design.

'Driven by the potential of fast-paced development of battery technology, this investment puts the UK... on the next step to meet the challenge by the future of mobility’

The centre is the result of a £28 million (€32 million) investment by the UK Government and is meant to act as a ‘stepping stone’ towards a potential Gigafactory development in the future.

Business and Industry Minister Andrew Stephenson said: ‘Driven by the potential of fast-paced development of battery technology, this investment puts the UK – amongst a handful of countries around the world – on the next step to meet the challenge by the future of mobility.’

£80 million (€91 million) was initially invested in the centre, with the additional funds used not only to increase the quality of production but also to upskill workers. Amidst Brexit uncertainty, the new centre will be a home for highly-skilled auto workers in the UK.

Jeff Pratt, Managing Director of UKBIC, said: ‘It is fantastic to see construction starting on UKBIC and we are looking forward to working with all our partners on this project, which will have huge significance on the next generation of battery systems.’

UK in pole position

The UKBIC is just one of three initiatives the Government has launched to develop cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe, low-weight and recyclable batteries. The other strands are Innovate UK’s collaborate R&D and the Faraday Institution.

The Government also launched its National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels programme, which will make use of the £16 million (€18.5 million) of government funding to develop sustainable and internationally competitive UK supply chains.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘Coming at a time of considerable upheaval, it is important that all manufacturers are alert to the technological, market and trading changes that are occurring and take the right steps to ensure they are not just viable but globally successful in the future.’