Jaguar Land Rover will build electric vehicles (EVs) at its manufacturing plant in Castle Bromwich, securing 2,700 jobs.
The new Battery Assembly Centre is expected to be operational during 2020 and will have the capacity to build 150,000 units.
It follows the company’s announcement in January that electric drive units (EDUs) for EVs will be manufactured at its Wolverhampton-based Engine Manufacturing Centre (EMC).
The UK car industry has been dealt several high-profile blows in recent months with Ford announcing they will close its Bridgend plant in 2020 and Honda announcing they will close its plant in Swindon by 2021 – both citing a global decline in new petrol and diesel cars.
However, Jaguar Land Rover’s announcement signals a major vote of confidence in the UK’s ability to deliver the technology.
Figures released yesterday showed consumer demand for EVs has grown by over 60% in 2019. The market share for fully electric vehicles in the UK is still small, though, at under 1%.
In Europe, the market share is 1.8% and demand is growing at 70% compared to 2018.
The first vehicle confirmed to be built at the site will be the all-electric Jaguar XJ.
Prof. Dr Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover said: ‘The future of mobility is electric and, as a visionary British company, we are committed to making our next generation of zero-emission vehicles in the UK,’ said Prof. Dr Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover.
‘We are co-locating our electric vehicle manufacture, Electronic Drive Units and battery assembly to create a powerhouse of electrification in the Midlands.’
Responding to the news, Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) said it ‘reaffirms Britain’s potential to become a global leader in zero-emission technologies.’
Later this month, the company will begin installing the facilities for its Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA).
MLA will enable the firm to build diesel and petrol vehicles alongside full electric and hybrid models.
Jaguar Land Rover also called on the government and industry to work together to bring giga-scale battery production to the UK.
It echoes the words of academics from Oxford University who last month said the UK must commit to building EV battery gigafactories quickly or risk falling behind the rest of the world for EV manufacturing.
Their report predicted that 114,000 automotive industry jobs would be lost by 2040. But with the right strategy, the UK could instead become a ‘world leader’ in the production of batteries and EVs, with a potential 246,000 employees in the industry by 2040.
In May, the government announced they will spend a further £28m on a national electric vehicle (EV) battery ‘centre of excellence’ in Coventry.
The government says the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) will provide ‘world-leading’ testing facilities for new battery technologies, and be a stepping stone for their ambition to build a gigafactory in the UK.