Warwickshire's National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility will link R&D and industrialisation of cutting-edge tech
Sam Sheehan
29 November 2017

A new UK electric vehicle battery facility will be built thanks to £80 million worth of funding, helping to spearhead the UK’s role as a world leader in EV tech.

The National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility, as it will be named, comes thanks to a partnership between the Warwick Manufacturing Group, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Coventry City Council.

The site will be built in Warwickshire to enable “effective partnerships between manufacturers, researchers, and economic development leaders”, benefitting from its close location to several of the UK’s biggest car makers.

The site is tasked with producing technology and enabling progress in electric vehicle powertrains that surpass international benchmarks. The research will focus on cutting-edge battery technology, including chemistry, electrodes, cell design, module and pack levels.

As such, the partnership expects the site to draw in international investment and become a talent hub for employees skilled in this industry.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, the chairman of the WMG, said: "Having a 37-year track record of working jointly with industry to innovate, and as leaders for over 10 years in battery development, WMG is poised to continue to drive forward battery innovation and help create growth and employment in the UK.

“Coventry and the sub region has a significant contribution to make in the delivery of the UK’s national industrial strategy, being in a strong position to lead the advancement of battery development, and vehicle electrification and autonomous vehicles. It will be at the heart of the drive to make the city a smart motor city.”

Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark added: “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.

“The new facility, based in Coventry and Warwickshire, will propel the UK forward in this thriving area, bringing experts 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.”

The National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility is part of the UK Government’s £246m Faraday Challenge and was awarded its funding through a competition led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, which features its own battery facility headed by Williams Advanced Engineering.

It also comes as part of the government’s recently announced Industrial Strategy, which outlined plans for Britain to ramp up its pace of progress with electric and autonomous vehicle technology.

The government also wants to make the UK’s car industry more self-sufficient. It wants 50% of every UK-built car to be made of domestically sourced parts.

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2

29 November 2017

But compared to Tesla's investemnt - not to mention the Chinese investment in renewal tech - this is small beer.

If they invested just 10% of the outlay on Sizewell B (i.e. £3 billion of the £30 billion) that would have the potential to make the UK into a proper world-leader in EV tech.

29 November 2017

As far as I know Tesla's batteries are from Panasonic. They don't make them in house. Tesla's investment thus far is not profitable. They are burning 8000USD every minute.

No point spending 3 billion GBP on this if there is no payback in a sensible time frame.

This NBMDF plan, on the other hand, does for once seem like a good strategy. For it to work, all or most of the UK vehicle OEMs need to be switching from far eastern battery supply and source from the prospective UK plant.

The government can do even more to help and cancel the whole Brexit catastrophe, then perhaps we'd have a ready export market in France, Germany, Italy, you name it.

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