New £250m EV innovation lab opened by JLR

JLR has unveiled a £250 million state of the art electric vehicle (EV) test facility, as the company prepares to launch nine pure electric luxury models by 2030. 

The new 323,000 sq. ft. facility at JLR’s Whitley Engineering Centre in Coventry will host more than £40 million of technological innovations to enable the rapid testing of EVs, including electric test rigs, Electric Drive Unit (EDU) manufacturing and electric vehicle systems test cells. 

This includes a series of extreme-weather climate chambers, capable of simulating the harshest of conditions – from -40°C and up to 55°C. 

The facility, part of JLR’s £15bn investment to electrify its luxury brands over the next five years, will significantly increase JLR’s test and development capacity. This will enable the company to sustainably scale up its next generation EVs, reducing the need to transport across other global test facilities during the development process. 

More than 200 EV engineers are already working at the facility, and a further 150 roles will be created, providing a significant employment boost to the regional economy. 

JLR is planning a further £22m worth of investment next year, as it continues to upgrade the Coventry site. 

Thomas Mueller, Executive Director of Product Engineering, JLR, said: ‘’Our vehicles are, and continue to be, at the forefront of an all-electric automotive future. This facility, a core component of our Reimagine strategy, is essential to providing the advanced testing capabilities that will be vital to the performance and reliability of the modern luxury vehicles we are proudly developing.’’

Oliver Boakes, Chief Engineer, Powertrain Test Operations, JLR, added: ‘’Our operations at Whitley are at the heart of JLR – itself a leading business in the local community – so this test facility is another jewel in the crown of our move towards an all-electric future. This is a notable investment for the business and local economy.’’

JLR’s next electric vehicle, the modern luxury Range Rover BEV, is one of the models undergoing hundreds of thousands of hours of testing on these rigs, while its EDUs are designed, developed and tested by JLR engineers based at Whitley. The model is due to launch next year. 

The new site represents another milestone in the delivery of JLR’s Reimagine Strategy to ready its industrial footprint for electrification. By taking the design and development of its own EDUs in-house, JLR is assuming greater oversight of its own supply chain, with more flexibility to change its own EDUs. 

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, commented: ‘’We have been steadfast in our ambition to place our region right at the forefront of both automotive excellence and the transition to electric vehicle production.

‘’Today’s brilliant news from JLR vindicates our ambition. With the opening of this new Future Energy Lab in Coventry – a multi-million pound investment in engineering – JLR are doubling down on their commitment to electrification in the months and years ahead.

‘’This announcement also means that local people stand to benefit hugely – equipping them with the skills they need to succeed in this sector and the employment opportunities to match.’’

Image courtesy of JLR.

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