The UK government  is taking a more proactive approach to industrial strategy to position the UK  in key emerging and advanced tech - such as automotive batteries  for electrification

The UK government is taking a more proactive approach to industrial strategy to position the UK in key emerging and advanced tech - such as automotive batteries for electrification

The UK government has announced that Coventry and Warwickshire will be the home of the new National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility (NMDF).

The facility, with GBP80m of funding from the government's flagship GBP246m investment in battery technology – the Faraday Battery Challenge – will be the UK's first ever battery development facility and it is hoped it will help 'establish the UK as one of the world leader's in battery technology and innovation'.

A key part of the Automotive Sector Deal, the new centre will build on the West Midlands 'exceptional reputation for automotive expertise and research and development (R&D) with a facility that will host cutting-edge production and assembly processes and support the future scale-up of battery technologies'.

Generate 'scalable business propositions'

The facility will be responsible for turning early and mid-stage battery research and development activities into 'scalable business propositions that are commercially viable, while also providing a learning environment to enable training and skills development'. The new centre will be an independent facility that is openly accessible to UK-based companies wishing to develop battery technologies.

In a speech to the Battery and Energy Storage Conference, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark confirmed that the Coventry and Warwickshire area had won the national competition, led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), for the new centre, following a successful bid by a consortium led by Coventry and Warwickshire LEP and including Warwick Manufacturing Group. The open competition was overseen by APC and judged by an independent panel.

Greg Clark said: "The new facility, based in Coventry and Warwickshire, will propel the UK forward in this thriving area, bringing together the best minds 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."

Dr Ralf Speth, CEO Jaguar Land Rover, said: "If the UK wants to stay competitive and make domestic EV manufacturing viable in the long run, a high level of ambition is required as set out in the Industrial Strategy. JLR is already investing heavily to make the vision of autonomous and electric mobility come true. From 2020, all of our new vehicles will be electrified with Mild Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and Battery Electric solutions, and these are already being designed in the West Midlands. We also intend to produce battery electric vehicles in the region, bringing the West Midlands to the forefront of modern mobility in the UK."

Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of Warwick Manufacturing Group, said: "WMG, at the University of Warwick, has a strong record of industry innovation partnerships going back many years. We are delighted that we will be home to the National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility, a core part of the Faraday Battery Challenge.

"This will be an openly accessible centre of real impact, working coherently with the application-inspired fundamental research emerging from Faraday Institution and ensuring the transfer of technology takes place at scale to support the industrialisation of batteries in the UK.

"This joined up end-to-end approach will be a UK first, and is critical to ensure our fundamental research translates into sustaining and growing manufacturing jobs in the UK."

The UK government says it will shortly publish details of its Automotive Sector Deal agreement reached with industry, with a 'strategic vision that builds on the collaborative partnership established between government and the auto sector'.