The UK Business Secretary, Greg Clark, has confirmed that the government will invest into the development and production of battery technology as part of the Faraday Battery Challenge.
Greg Clark confirmed details of the £120 million government flagship Faraday Battery Challenge investment into making the UK a world leader in the development and production of battery technology. £80 million is to be invested in a new state-of-the-art automotive battery development facility, the UK’s first ever facility of this kind, based in the West Midlands. The announcement follows a successful bid by a consortium led by Coventry and Warwickshire LEP and including Warwick Manufacturing Group.
The government will shortly publish details of its Automotive Sector Deal agreement reached with industry, including a strategic vision that builds on the collaborative partnership established between government and the auto sector. The investment in the new National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility (NMDF) is part of a flagship government £246 million investment in battery technology – the Faraday Battery Challenge – announced in July.
A key part of the Automotive Sector Deal, the new centre will build on the West Midlands exceptional reputation for automotive expertise and research and development (R&D) with a facility that will host cutting-edge production and assembly processes and support the future scale-up of battery technologies.
The facility will be responsible for turning the most promising early and mid-stage battery research and development activities into scalable business propositions that are commercially viable, while also providing a learning environment to enable training and skills development. The new centre will be an independent facility that is openly accessible to UK-based companies wishing to develop battery technologies.
In a speech to the Battery and Energy Storage Conference, Greg Clark confirmed that the area had won the national competition, led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), for the new centre, following a successful bid by a consortium led by Coventry and Warwickshire LEP and including Warwick Manufacturing Group. The open competition was overseen by APC and judged by an independent panel.
“Battery technology is one of the most game-changing forms of energy innovation and it is one of the cornerstones of our ambition, through the Industrial Strategy and the Faraday Challenge, to ensure that the UK leads the world, and reaps the economic benefits, in the global transition to a low carbon economy” said Mr Clark. “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 (JLR), added that 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 and that JLR is already investing heavily to make the vision of autonomous and electric mobility come true. From 2020, all of new JLR vehicles will be electrified with Mild Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and Battery Electric solutions, and these are already being designed in the West Midlands. The company also intend to produce battery electric vehicles in the region, bringing the West Midlands to the forefront of modern mobility in the UK.
During his speech the Business Secretary also announced the winners of £40 million of additional Faraday Battery Challenge investment, allocated through Innovate UK led Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund innovation competitions, that will help make UK businesses a world leader in battery technology.
27 innovative projects are being funded, involving 66 organisations, covering key technologies such as the development of battery materials and cell manufacturing, design and production of modules and packs including advances in thermal management and battery management systems, and recycling and recyclability of battery packs.