Midlands leads the way in electric vehicle revolution

Member News

The Midlands is set to become the centre of the UK’s electric vehicle revolution under new plans announced by the government.

Speaking at the at the country’s first ever Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Summit, Prime Minister Theresa May said her ambition was for the UK to become world leader in low emission technology.

The summit, taking place in Birmingham, has also seen the announcement of a £106m package for projects developing innovative green battery, vehicle and refuelling technology.

Industry is backing the aims of the summit with an investment of more than £0.5bn in projects relating to low emission technology. The new projects have the potential to create 1,000 jobs across the UK.

Technology being developed in the Midlands will play a key role in the goals being targeted.

Within the Midlands, the projects include:

  • An investment of £6m by JEE to establish an assembly and testing facility in Birmingham, employing around 20 highly skilled people by 2020
  • The EV Network, a UK-based charging station development company, is developing 200 fast-charging stations throughout the UK, representing an investment of around £200m. The company has joined forces with Leclanché which will be supplying the battery storage solutions to the stations. EVN and Leclanché will develop an EV Charging Centre of Excellence in Warwick
  • Hyperbat Ltd, a new joint venture between Williams Advanced Engineering and Unipart Manufacturing Group, will open the UK’s largest, independent, vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Coventry in early 2019. The site will create around 90 new, high-value, high-tech jobs
  • Semiconductor specialist, Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric Co, a subsidiary of CRRC, has confirmed Birmingham will be the location for its new UK R&D Innovation Centre for EVs, rail, and renewable. The centre will employ more than 150 engineers by 2022, with an overall investment of up to £50m
  • Leoni will be investing £7m into a new technical centre in South Warwickshire, creating more than 100 new design & development jobs. The company will be working with major OEMs in developing technologies for the next generation of autonomous and electric vehicles
  • Warwickshire-based sports car manufacturer Aston Martin will be investing £50m into its new facility at St Athan in Wales to make it a centre for electrification and the home of the Lagonda brand. The investment will create an additional 200 jobs at the site and, in total, the new plant will bring up to 750 high skilled jobs to South Wales.

The two-day summit will also see the Prime Minister will host an automotive roundtable with leading supply-chain companies from Germany, the USA, Japan, China, Spain and India. This will explore how the government and industry can work together to accelerate the development of the zero-emissions market and to highlight the UK’s strong offer.

The government will also unveil a new, international declaration that will forge the way for the worldwide deployment of green vehicles, and the introduction of smart, zero-emission infrastructure.

The first signatories to the ‘Birmingham Declaration’ include Italy, France, Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Belarus and Indonesia, with more nations currently in talks to sign up. This will form the basis of increasing international engagement at climate conferences throughout the year to accelerate the global transition.

Dr Kylash Makenji of Made in the Midlands member, Warwick Manufacturing Group, said: “WMG is helping to pioneer work on autonomous vehicle development as well as battery technology.

“It is good to see the work that is being carried out in this field and encouraging that the Midlands features prominently.”