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Jaguar Land Rover to ramp up electric vehicle production with £15 billion investment

Jaguar Land Rover

The largest automaker in the UK, Jaguar Land Rover, has announced that it will spend £15 billion over the next five years upgrading its plants to create electric vehicles, including its first battery-powered vehicle made in the UK.

The company will switch over to creating electric cars at its Halewood plant in Merseyside, while its Wolverhampton factory which currently produces internal combustion engines will concentrate on producing electric motors and related equipment.

JLR, which has 36,000 employees, said the £15bn would be spread over its “industrial footprint, vehicle programmes, autonomous, AI and digital technologies and people skills”, although did not set out how the money would be split.

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The investment will be welcomed by the UK auto industry. JLR is the only mass-market automaker with its headquarters in the UK.

This is despite being controlled by the Indian conglomerate Tata, and only Japanese automaker Nissan produced more vehicles in UK factories in 2022.

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The answer to how JLR will fulfil its promises to make Jaguar an all-electric brand by 2025 and to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2039 has been eagerly awaited by analysts for a long time.

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The corporation has come under fire from several experts for lagging behind in the race to create electric automobiles.

The Jaguar I-Pace, a prize-winning fully electric vehicle constructed in Austria by a contract manufacturer, was the sole vehicle available.

As a result of global scarcity, JLR has also had a harder time than some of its competitors finding enough semiconductor computer chips for its cars, which has slowed down production and its transition to profitability after years of losses.

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The business declared on Wednesday that a £100,000 Jaguar four-door "grand tourer" would be produced in Solihull, West Midlands, as its first electric vehicle to be created in the UK.

In 2025, the first deliveries will take place. The Jaguar brand, according to design chief Gerry McGovern, has been "radically reimagined" and will be constructed using a different blueprint than the other models.

Orders for JLR's iconic Range Rover, the first electrified model, will also be accepted. It has chosen not to produce hybrid versions of its medium-sized Range Rover vehicles, which pair a petrol engine with a battery, instead choosing to concentrate on batteries "as the trend to electrification in certain markets increases."

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Following the failure of Britishvolt, a start-up that had planned to construct a so-called battery gigafactory, this year, Tata's decision is considered as being of utmost significance for the health of the larger UK automotive industry.

Tata has pushed the government to provide up to £500 million in funding for a battery plant in the UK, and it is also looking into locations in Spain.

Tata's choice, according to Mardell, is about to be made, although it will be at least four years before a new gigafactory is operational.

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The idea, according to Mardell, was a component of the strategy put forth by his predecessor, Thierry Bolloré, who left JLR in November, two years prior.

The unexpected resignation was explained by "personal reasons" by the corporation. Mardell had already been named interim chief executive, but on Wednesday, his permanent appointment was made official.

Mardell said: “Two years ago, we launched our Reimagine strategy and since then we have made great progress, including launching two new critically acclaimed modern luxury Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models, joining the Defender family, for which there is record demand.”

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JLR’s chief executive, Adrian Mardell, said the company was “accelerating our electrification path, making one of our UK plants and our next-generation medium-size luxury SUV architecture fully electric”.

David Bailey, a professor of business economics at the University of Birmingham, said the size of the planned investment was welcome for the British car industry.

“They’re finally really speeding up the electrification, both on the Jaguar but also on the other brands” including the lucrative Range Rover, a “big earner” for the company, he said.

Bailey added that the separate blueprint for Jaguar “does raise the question of whether they will spin it off” as a separate company if its relaunch is successful.

JLR has inked supply contracts for the batteries for its first batch of domestically produced electric vehicles, but it is awaiting Tata's decision on where the parent firm would locate a factory for making battery cells.

SourceThe Guardian

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