The UK government wants 50% of each British-built vehicle to be made from nationally sourced components as part of plans to make the industry more self-sufficient.
In the latest industrial strategy white paper, the government cites electric, autonomous and connected vehicle technology as opportunities to take “global leadership” and reduce the amount of imported parts in UK-made cars.
It reveals plans to boost government investment in technology-developing projects, training and partnerships, citing the new Coventry-based Advanced Propulsion Centre and Meridian autonomous car programme as recent success stories of this practice.
The Advanced Propulsion Centre, which features a battery facility due to be set up by Williams Advanced Engineering, is a government-backed organisation that opened in 2013 with the ambition of designing, developing and producing batteries in Britain with £1 billion worth of investment. Set to be used in low-volume, high-performance automotive products like the Aston Martin Rapide-E, the batteries will also be exported.
More recently, the government has begun its involvement with Meridian, which works alongside the Advanced Propulsion Centre to anchor a ‘cluster of driving excellence’ along the M40 motorway. The programme is designed to accelerate the development of connected and autonomous technology in Britain – directly benefiting internal car and tech companies and giving the country a key asset to export.
The government says in its white paper that projects like these have already pushed the percentage of UK parts in British-built cars up from 36% in 2011 to 44% in 2016. It intends to raise this further in order to make the UK more self-sufficient and less reliant on external producers.