These are the first images inside Jaguar Land Rover’s new Future Energy Lab – a state-of-the-art electric vehicle test site in Coventry that will secure 200 jobs for the future and create 150 new roles in the region.
Opened on Monday, the facility is part of the British manufacturer’s stride towards launching nine pure electric luxury cars by 2030 in a bid to catch-up with rivals like Tesla.
Located in the West Midlands – historically Britain’s automotive heartland, where Coventry has been dubbed the UK’s Motor City – it cost £250million and will allow for ‘rapid testing of EVs’, in a bid to accelerate JLR’s electrification timeline.
Step inside JLR’s new EV test facility in Britain’s automotive heartland: Company’s new £250m Future Energy Lab will allow for ‘rapid testing of EVs’ in a bid to accelerate the company’s electrification timeline
The new 323,000 square-foot facility is located at JLR’s Whitley Engineering Centre and features more than £40million of technological innovations, including electric test rigs, electric drive unit manufacturing and EV systems test cells.
This includes a series of extreme-weather climate chambers, capable of simulating the harshest of conditions – from -40°C and up to 55°C – to guarantee that JLR’s electric cars of the future can withstand all climates.
The facility is part of JLR’s wider £15billion investment to electrify its luxury brands over the next five years.
This includes the launch of the first all-electric Range Rover by the end of next year and turning Jaguar into an electric-only premium car brand by 2026.
Opened on Monday, the facility is part of the British manufacturer’s stride towards launching nine pure electric luxury cars by 2030 in a bid to catch-up with rivals like Tesla
Left to right: Oliver Boakes, chief engineer at JLR, Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, and JLR executive director Thomas Müller during the opening of the Future Energy Lab
The new 323,000 sqft facility is located at JLR’s Whitley Engineering Centre and features more than £40m of equipment. Mayor Andy Street takes a closer look at one of the new test rigs
JLR hopes the site will enable a sustainable scale up of its next generation EVs, reducing the need to transport cars across other global test facilities during the development process.
‘By increasing its capacity for testing EVs on-site, JLR is minimising the cost of, and the emissions associated with sending fleets of prototype cars around the world for test assessments,’ the brand says.
JLR confirmed that more than 200 EV engineers are already working at the facility.
A further 150 roles will be created in the coming months, which will provide a ‘significant employment boost to the regional economy’, it said.
JLR is planning a further £22million worth of investment next year, as it continues to upgrade the Coventry site.
It comes in the wake of JLR’s parent company Tata confirming in July it will build a huge £4billion ‘gigafactory’ in Somerset to produce batteries to power these future EV models, also from around 2026 when the facility is due to come on stream.
By producing its own batteries, JLR will be able to avoid post-Brexit export tariffs due to be enforced on EU and UK car makers from next year that will make the average EV £3,400 more expensive than it is today.
‘Rule of origin’ tariffs of 10 per cent are due to be imposed on exports of electric cars between the UK and EU from January 1 if at least 45 per cent of their value does not originate in the UK or EU.
If they are introduced in a matter of weeks, manufacturers are expected to pass on these increased costs to customers via higher pricing.
With batteries contributing the biggest cost to any EV, it is vitally important for makers to create their own production hubs domestically.
A model of the proposed electric battery factory JLR’s owner, Tata, has confirmed to be built in Somerset. It will cost a massive £4bn and be on stream by 2026, the company says
The facility is part of JLR’s wider £15billion investment to electrify its luxury brands over the next five years, including the launch of the first all-electric Range Rover by the end of next year and turning Jaguar into an electric-only premium car brand by 2026
The state-of-the-art electric vehicle test site in Coventry has secured 200 existing sector jobs for the future
JLR bosses say the EV test lab will also create 150 new roles in the region – an economy boost for the West Midlands
Commenting on the opening of the new EV test lab, Thomas Mueller, executive director of product engineering at JLR, said: ‘Our vehicles are, and continue to be, at the forefront of an all-electric automotive future.
‘This facility, a core component of our Reimagine strategy, is essential to providing the advanced testing capabilities that will be vital to the performance and reliability of the modern luxury vehicles we are proudly developing.’
Oliver Boakes, chief engineer looking after powertrain development at the company, added: ‘Our operations at Whitley are at the heart of JLR – itself a leading business in the local community – so this test facility is another jewel in the crown of our move towards an all-electric future.
‘This is a notable investment for the business and local economy.’