Jaguar Land Rover’s new electric car has sparked a race to produce the develop the batteries that will power it – and Coventry is in the lead.
JLR bosses have publicly expressed their desire to build the I-Pace cars in the city, but that can only happen if the battery supply chain is in place.
Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), based at Warwick University, has been working hard to ensure Coventry continues to lead the pack in the charge to develop batteries for Jaguar, and other firm’s, electric vehicles.
Now WMG has developed a battery it says is 80 per cent better than anything currently being used – potentially giving a range of almost 400 miles.
That’s thanks to the work of the £50million Energy Innovation Centre, also based on the university campus, which already has massive £20m expansion plans despite only opening in March last year.
Prof David Greenwood, who heads up the Advanced Propulsion Systems team at WMG, told the Telegraph vehicle battery technology produced through its ‘Amplifii’ programme was keeping Coventry ahead of international competition to power the next generation of electric vehicles.
He said: “At the moment we’re doing pretty well. We’re winning the race and we want to keep it that way.”
He added: “The batteries we have produced show an 80 per cent improvement in energy density compared to something you would find in a Tesla car today.
“The dimensions would remain about the same as you see today, but there would be about 80 per cent more energy in it. That would almost double the range of the vehicle.”
Prof Greenwood added that the size and weight of electric vehicles, as well as shipping restrictions, would mean cars would likely have to be produced wherever the batteries are made.
He said: “We want to get the manufacturing to the UK. We now have the structures in place to develop the technology and take them to market.
“The batteries weigh hundreds of kilogrammes – between 750 and 800kg in a Tesla car.
“They are also classed as dangerous goods when it comes to shipping, which present further challenges.
“Japan and South Korea are currently the biggest manufacturers of electric vehicle batteries, but there’s competition from China, the USA and Germany too.
“But we’re very well prepared. If you look at the facilities and skills in the area, they are building very quickly.
“Investment is needed to build the infrastructure, skills and secure the necessary land.
“But there’s strong support from the UK government for financing this work here.”