An £80 million funding boost will supercharge the West Midlands’ bid to be at the forefront of global electric vehicle technology, the Mayor said today.
The money, for a new national battery facility in the Coventry area, was announced by Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said the facility would help the region create world beating products for the electric and future vehicle technology market.
Andy Street welcomed the news of the funding boost today
The National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility will be set up by WMG at the University of Warwick in partnership with Coventry City Council and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
The Mayor said: “Greg Clark’s announcement today is great news, not just for Coventry but for the wider region and the partners – including the City Council and CWLEP – who have made this happen.
“The Industrial Strategy launched this week makes it clear that the West Midlands has a huge opportunity to be a world leader in new future transport technologies.
“This is already the heart of the UK’s automotive industry. We have the highest levels of investment in automotive research and innovation in the country, supported by universities that excel in design and engineering and we have a 150,000 strong supplier base.
“The investment in this facility will give us a huge boost in the race to lead the world in the production of electric vehicles. 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.”
Mr Clark announced the £80 million funding while attending an energy conference on the University of Warwick campus this afternoon (Wednesday 29th November).
The national facility will be established in the Coventry and Warwickshire area and will provide a crucial new strategic link between the research, development and full-scale industrialisation for battery technologies across the UK.
Martin Yardley, chief executive of CWLEP, said "We are obviously delighted to have been successful in our joint bid with WMG and Coventry City Council to create the National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility (NBMDF).
“This will be a centre which will lead and drive forward battery technologies, making alternative vehicle propulsion systems practical across a wide range of uses.
“We always believed with our globally-renowned pedigree in research and development, automotive and advanced engineering that we would be the perfect location to deliver such a cutting-edge project.
“Additionally, this is the perfect example of how the CWLEP working with totally united bodies in industry and academia can achieve very tangible results which are not only good for our region but also UK plc.”
The facility will enable effective partnerships to be established between manufacturers, researchers, and economic development leaders, while remaining independent from commercial interests.
It will also enable the creation of battery products that are ahead of international performance benchmarks, helping to speed up market entry while acting as a magnet for inward investment in the key technologies.
The facility will also significantly scale up UK skills in the sector which is seen as critical for sustainable and competitive manufacturing of batteries in the UK.
The National Battery Manufacturing Development was part of the Government’s £246m Faraday Challenge and awarded through a competition led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, supported by Innovate UK. It is also an initial element of the Government’s new Industrial Strategy.