Ralf Speth, chief executive officer of Jaguar Land Rover, said: “The future of mobility is electric and, as a visionary British company, we are committed to making our next generation of zero-emission vehicles in the UK. We are co-locating our electric vehicle manufacture, Electronic Drive Units and battery assembly to create a powerhouse of electrification in the Midlands.”
The first new electric car to be produced at the plant will be Jaguar’s flagship luxury saloon, the XJ. The choice of business leaders, celebrities, politicians and royalty for over five decades and through eight generations of production, the XJ is designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK and has been exported to more than 120 countries.
The news was confirmed to workers at Castle Bromwich as production of the current XJ came to an end. The new all-electric model will be created by the same expert team of designers and product development specialists responsible for delivering the world’s first premium electric SUV, and 2019 World Car of the Year, the Jaguar I-PACE.
Today’s announcement, which safeguards several thousand jobs in the UK, is the next stage in execution of Jaguar Land Rover’s electrification strategy. In January the company confirmed plans to bring battery and Electric Drive Unit (EDU) assembly to the Midlands with investment in new and existing facilities. These investments have been anticipated in the company’s previously communicated capital investment plans.
The new Battery Assembly Centre at Hams Hall, operational in 2020, will be the most innovative and technologically advanced in the UK with an installed capacity of 150,000 units. Together with the Wolverhampton Engine Manufacturing Centre (EMC), home of Jaguar Land Rover’s global EDU production, these facilities will power the next generation of Jaguar and Land Rover models.
The extensive transformation of Castle Bromwich to become the UK’s first premium electrified vehicle plant will be the most significant in the plant’s history. Later this month, work will begin to commence the installation of all-new facilities and technologies required to support Jaguar Land Rover’s next-generation Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA). Designed and engineered in-house, MLA enables flexible production of clean efficient diesel and petrol vehicles alongside full electric and hybrid models.
The expansion of Jaguar Land Rover’s electrified vehicle line up will see customers offered a greater choice of vehicles to suit their lifestyles. However increased consumer take-up remains a challenge.
Speth concluded: “Convenience and affordability are the two key enablers to drive the uptake of electric vehicles to the levels that we all need. Charging should be as easy as re-fuelling a conventional vehicle. Affordability will only be achieved if we make batteries here in the UK, close to vehicle production, to avoid the cost and safety risk of importing from abroad. The UK has the raw materials, scientific research in our universities and an existing supplier base to put the UK at the leading edge of mobility and job creation.