Jaguar Land Rover accelerates its electrification agenda
Jaguar Land Rover revealed plans to manufacture a range of new electrified vehicles at its manufacturing plant in Castle Bromwich, UK. The company says that the announcement is the next step in delivering on its commitment to offer customers electrified options for all new Jaguar and Land Rover models from 2020.
Prof. Dr. 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.” He continued, “We are co-locating our electric vehicle manufacture, electronic drive units, and battery assembly to create a powerhouse of electrification in the Midlands.”
Ian Fletcher, Principal Automotive Analyst, IHS Markit, noted about the announcement, “This removes some of the uncertainty surrounding this site given its low utilization levels. While the strategic decision to install battery and EDU assembly at their respective sites will have obviously made the decision on Castle Bromwich easier, JLR’s final decision is likely to have been helped by changes to working hours agreed by production staff. While the workforce there will still work a standard 37-hour week, they will do this over four days as part of efforts to boost efficiency. The changes will also offer the opportunity to run additional shifts on Friday should demand require it, something that it will no doubt be hoping that the new site will need.”
The first new electric car to be produced at the plant will be Jaguar’s flagship luxury saloon, the XJ. 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 team responsible for the Jaguar I-Pace.
The company says that 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."
The extensive transformation of Castle Bromwich will be the most significant in the plant’s history. Later this month, work will commence on 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 diesel and gasoline vehicles alongside full electric and hybrid models.
The expansion of Jaguar Land Rover’s electrified vehicle lineup will see customers offered a greater choice of vehicles to suit their lifestyles. However, increased consumer take-up remains a challenge.
Said Speth, “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 refueling 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.”