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.”
I don’t think this image from our archive has been published before either, and it shows Jaguar’s second placed 1954 Le Mans D-Type XKC402 – or – OKV1.
The car is seen at the Paris Motorshow the year after the winning C-Type was there, but this heroic car was part of the the D-Type’s race debut, and but for a few minor issues, would have won with Hamilton and Rolt on board again.
Sadly, while being driven back to Calais from here it was involved in a collision which sent it off the road and damaged the fin and other panels. Unlike the C-Type through, while it wears its Le Mans number, the car has obviously been tarted up after the gruelling race and before being displayed in Paris.
Duncan Hamilton bought and raced it from the end of the 1954 season before selling it to John ‘Jumbo’ Goddard who had him convert it into his road car – and which I believe inspired Jaguar to produce the XK-SS.
It then came to Australia, specifically the northern beaches of Sydney, where Jumbo lived and it remained there until his death in 1983.
It is now back in the UK and is owned by one of the founders of restoration business CMC. It is seen in historic events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
I wonder though if the car wearing the plate OKV1 is a replacement – and the original, with its Jumbo conversions, remains untouched and as it was displayed at Beaulieu for many years? I hope so and would be in favour of that.
For those of you who might have been trying to subscribe or visit our site for the latest news, and were faced with an ‘insecure’ site notice – all is now well.
The business hosting our site hadn’t told us the SSL Certificate needed to be renewed until we saw the problem ourselves.
We went elsewhere and have now got a new squeaky tight Certificate – so we are totally safe and secure again.
I am sorry for the inconvenience – let’s say it was a 2016 problem so as to not taint the new year!
It is barely mentioned by historians, but Jaguar obviously made the most of its competition successes to publicise its achievements, as we saw with the 1953 C-Type Le Mans victory presentation at the Paris Salon.
In our next edition we are featuring the grossly underlined MkVII and its successes in competition both on the track and in rallies.
This is an image we are using in the edition #185 story, and it might give you a new appreciation of just some of the capabilities of the remarkable MkVII which was a breakthrough model and a huge sales success as an executive and family saloon.
The Monte Carlo winner is seen displayed at Henly’s major sales and service centre in north London, and attracted a huge amount of press attention, not to mention the public, while it was there.
Who appreciates until now that this particular car, one of a small raft of hardworking works cars, raced in the Silverstone saloon events which Jaguar won five years in a row with the MkVII, was used to haul teams and spare parts to Le Mans, Reims and other events – then went and won the mighty 1956 Monte Carlo Rally?
It might look a bit like a lumbering beast, but the MkVII handles exceptionally well, and of course, these works cars were fitted with C-Type and later D-Type heads, and the best suspension elements plus close ratio gearboxes etc. – but so too did the opposition use everything they could.
I hope we can do our bit to give the MkVII the rightful respect it has lost but more than deserves.