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July 16, 2019

UK gov gives JLR GBP500m loan guarantee for EVs

UK prime minister Theresa May has signed off a GBP500m loan guarantee to help Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover build electric cars in Britain.

By Sam Duke

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has signed off a GBP500m loan guarantee to help Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover build electric cars in Britain.  

In one of her last acts before leaving office, Mrs May – along with several ministers – met UK auto industry leaders at a roundtable and called for the UK to stay at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of electric vehicles.

Speaking at the meeting she emphasised that this can only be done through a strong partnership between the industry and government.

The meeting was held as part of wider action from government to support the automotive industry, and Mrs May confirmed that Jaguar Land Rover will receive a GBP500m loan guarantee from government export credit agency UK Export Finance. This will support the company’s design and manufacture of the next generation of electric vehicles and its export activities.

The representatives discussed with the prime minister that as well as having long term consistent incentives and the right charging infrastructure in place to drive up demand for electric vehicles, the UK should build on its strengths in the development of next generation battery technology.

The UK has already made a major commitment to becoming a world leader in the industry through its GBP274m investment in the Faraday Battery Challenge and earlier investments through the Automotive Propulsion Centre (APC). Attendees spoke about how best to build on this and work more closely together to develop the next generation of battery technology, including by supporting small businesses in the electrified supply chain and the building of a Gigafactory – a large-scale battery technology factory for electric vehicles.

JLR chief Ralph Speth has called for more investment in the UK in manufacturing capacity for lithium-ion battery cells. The JLR plant at Castle Bromwich will make electric Jaguar cars next year using battery packs assembled at the new Hams Hall battery assembly facility. However, battery cells for the packs will be imported from Korea. Last year JLR struck a cell supply deal with Samsung SDI.

The prime minister also set out a number of new commitments aimed at making electric vehicles more convenient than ever before to own, which were welcomed by attendees including:

  • making England the first place in the world where every new-build home will be fitted with an electric car chargepoint, under a consultation launched;
  • bringing forward plans to regulate chargepoints so that they use ‘smart’ technology which will send signals to electric vehicles to charge them at different times of the day, encouraging off-peak charging to keep costs down for consumers and helping prepare the energy system for mass uptake of electric vehicles;
  • all new rapid and higher powered chargepoints to provide ‘pay as you go’ debit or credit card payment options by spring 2020 – ending the current wide variety of payment systems which is a source of frustration for drivers.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed the government’s ambition for better access to rapid chargepoints by 2030, following her recent announcement that the Office of Low Emission Vehicles will undertake a review to develop a vision for a core network of rapid chargepoints along England’s key roadways. This would allow drivers to access them in a range of locations across the road network, including through and around cities.

The meeting yesterday builds on sessions attended by government and industry in recent weeks which saw representatives discuss how to increase demand and infrastructure for electric vehicles and capitalise on the UK’s strengths in the development of battery, motor and power electronics technology.

Alongside Prime Minister Theresa May, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, were also attendees at the roundtable which included representatives from:

  • AGM
  • Advanced Propulsion Centre
  • Aston Martin
  • Bentley
  • BMW
  • BP
  • BYD
  • Ecotricity
  • Ford
  • Innovate UK
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • McLaren
  • National Grid
  • Nissan
  • Podpoint
  • Shell
  • SMMT
  • Tesla
  • Toyota
  • UK Power Networks
  • Vauxhall

See also: Jaguar Land Rover confirms e-XJ for UK plant

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