JLR to invest hundreds of millions in EV production

JLR plans to expand its EV range through upgrading its UK manufacturing facilities.

The firm plans to retrofit its Caste Bromwich factory with technology to produce EVs, creating an all-electric, battery powered version of its XJ saloon followed by other vehicles. It is also believed key elements of the vehicle will also be produced in the UK, including electric motors manufactured at the company’s i54 engine plant in Wolverhampton, with batteries made in a new centre in Warwickshire.

The company’s first electric vehicle, the iPace wasn’t manufactured in the UK, and was instead produced under contract in Austria by Magna Steyr. JLR was one of the first firms to make bold EV commitments, stating in 2017 that it would only make electric or hybrid vehicles by 2020.

The announcement follows other global car manufacturers investing huge sums in electrification of their core vehicle offers, including Volvo and Volkswagen. Volkswagen’s multi-billion pound investment aims to make an EV version of all of its cars by 2030, producing the final diesel and petrol vehicles in 2026 and delivering 80 new EV brands to customers by 2025, including 50 fully-electric and 30 plug-in hybrids.

EV sales down

The news comes at a grim time for the UK car manufacturing sector as car production has fallen by more than 4.9% in June compared to a year ago.

Additionally, there was a fall for this first time in more than two years of low emission vehicle sales, with purchases of plug-in hybrid vehicles halving and hybrid electric vehicles falling 4.7%.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said the news was a ‘grave concern’ and government policy, including scrapping PHEV subsidies, and reducing it for battery electric vehicles, had impacted on sales.

JLR’s news also comes as the UK “lags behind” other European countries on electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, according to research from consultancy firm Delta-EE. Only one-fifth of UK-based EV drivers have access to the fastest rate of home charging of 22kW or higher, compared with nearly 75 per cent of German users.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme this morning about the JLR news, National Infrastructure Commission chair Sir John Armitt, called on the government to set targets for EV infrastructure by 2030 to reduce range anxiety and ensure the success of EVs in the UK.

James Evison

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