Coventry to host UK’s first EV battery research centre

The Government has confirmed that Coventry will be the home of the UK's first battery development facility, set up to help make the UK a world-leader in EV technology and innovation.

The £80m facility will be based in the West Midlands after a successful bid by a consortium led by Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, which includes Coventry City Council and Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick.  

It is the first phase of a four-year £246m investment – known as the Faraday Challenge – as part of the Government’s drive towards a strong economy centred on clean growth.

The new National Battery Development Facility will support the scale-up of early and mid-stage battery R&D activities into commercially viable business propositions. It will be openly accessible to UK-based businesses looking to establish a foothold in the market.

Confirming details of the centre yesterday (29 November), Business Secretary Greg Clark said that battery technology forms the “cornerstone of our ambition” to become a world-leader in the low-carbon transition.

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.”

Creating markets

Clark also announced the winners of a further £40m investment through the Faraday project. Allocated through Innovate UK, there are 27 innovative winning projects which range from the development of battery materials and cell manufacturing, through to the recycling of battery packs.

Commenting on the announcement, the Renewable Energy Association’s (REA) head of policy and external said it was a positive step for the growth of energy storage and EV markets in Britain, but warned that the Government will also need to support the creation of markets for battery products.

“The Business Secretary’s Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, released in July, is a roadmap for energy sector reform but needs urgent implementation if we are to keep the edge in this global technological race,” Court said. “A clear plan regarding EV charge point roll-out, including for the 40% of homes that lack on-street parking, is also essential.”

At the start of the week, the Government launched the UK’s much-anticipated Industrial Strategy, which sets out a vision for clean technology and innovation to play a key role in boosting the UK’s long-term economic prospects.

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