JLR CEO: Tata batteries “fundamental” for UK automotive industry

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Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) CEO Adrian Mardell has emphatically welcomed the news that parent company Tata will build an electric vehicle battery factory in the UK.

Speaking at the firm’s latest financial briefing (where he announced drastic upticks in revenue and profit), Mardell suggested that long-awaited confirmation of a local battery supply would be pivotal for the entire UK automotive industry, rather than just JLR itself. 

“This will help build a stable, secure battery cell reply with competitive costs and to let us deliver our strategic vision of a fully electric range of British electrified vehicles by 2030,” he said, on how the news directly impacts JLR.

He added: “This news is fundamental for an EV ecosystem in the UK, not just for JLR but the automotive industry in the UK. I am delighted with the news.”

As announced last week, in an investment totalling more than £4 billion, the Indian industry giant will establish local battery production with a view to starting supply to “anchor customers” – initially named as JLR and Tata Motors – as soon as 2026.

Tata’s plant will have a capacity of 40GWh, higher than the eventual 38GWh targeted for Envision’s battery factory next to Nissan’s plant in Sunderland. The Faraday Institute forecasts that the UK needs a total of 100GWh of local capacity by 2030 to satisfy demand for EV production, rising to 200GWh by 2040. 

Making the announcement last week, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran said: “I am delighted to announce the Tata Group will be setting up one of Europe’s largest battery cell manufacturing facilities in the UK. Our multi-billion-pound investment will bring state-of-the-art technology to the country, helping to power the automotive sector’s transition to electric mobility, anchored by our own business, JLR. “With this strategic investment, the Tata Group further strengthens its commitment to the UK, alongside our many companies operating here across technology, consumer, hospitality, steel, chemicals and automotive.”

The firm has yet to officially confirm whether the factory will be sited at Bridgewater in Somerset – a location historically linked with battery factory plans from various automotive manufacturers including Tesla, Rivian and JLR itself. 

Tata will produce “sustainable battery cells and packs for a variety of applications within the mobility and energy sectors”, following a “rapid” ramp-up phase during which the plant will be built and begin operations inside three years.

Tata also plans to “maximise its renewable energy mix” at the battery factory, ultimately targeting 100% “clean” power. A core component of its sustainability ambitions will be the recycling of batteries in-house, aiming to create a “truly circular economy ecosystem” by recovering raw materials for reuse in new batteries.

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