Jaguar Land Rover could create up to 10,000 new jobs in the UK to meet growing demand for electric vehicles following the launch of the new Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV, according to a report from the Financial Times.
The all-electric model’s batteries will be produced in the West Midlands by Warwick Manufacturing Group, with the Magna Steyr production facility in Austria handling most of the car production.
But JLR chief executive Ralf Speth said that future electric vehicles could be built in the Midlands providing the UK government invests in infrastructure improvements that make it favourable for a new EV-focused manufacturing facility to be established.
The FT reports that Speth would like to see an government investment of £450m. To create its new facility, he said, JLR will need extra electricity, land for development and the "right legislative framework" to enable the company to expand its operations quickly. Speth wants about half of JLR's model range to feature hybrid or electric variants within five years.
A JLR statement said: "CEO Dr Ralf Speth has confirmed his vision to double the production output of the business, make EVs in the UK and the desire to make the UK a global centre of excellence for battery research and development. However, this is dependent on overcoming infrastructure and capacity issues. We cannot comment on quoted job numbers or a timeframe."
Speth also said that the new car and increasing exports of JLR’s existing models would double JLR production to one million units by 2020.
“We have a greater ambition. Why should we challenge ourselves to build more than a million cars? If we double the volume of our cars we can double the workforce,” he told a meeting of political and automotive leaders. Speth didn't confirm how many jobs would be created, despite the reports.
JLR’s announcement comes days after the Government announced plans in its Autumn Statement to make the UK a global leader for electric vehicle and battery production.
UK business secretary Greg Clark, who was also at the meeting, said that this growing sector of the automotive industry could be “one of the big features of the world, and of Britain’s industrial policy, during the weeks, months and years ahead”.
Jaguar unveiled its I-Pace at the recent Los Angeles motor show, where it confirmed that the model would arrive in British showrooms in early 2018. The LA concept is powered by a pair of synchronous permanent magnet electric motors, with 395bhp and 516lb ft on tap. Jaguar’s claimed 0-60mph time for the car is 4.0sec.