Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed that it will upgrade its Castle Bromwich factory to give it the capability to produce the next generation of electrified vehicles. Following confirmation that the existing Jaguar XJ production was set to end, there were some question marks over the future viability of the Castle Bromwich facility. This latest news is expected to safeguard thousands of jobs, not just at the factory but also in the wider supply chain.
Battery assembly centre coming soon
In 2020 a new battery assembly centre at the Hams Hall facility, near Birmingham, will become operational, with Jaguar Land Rover claiming that it will be one of the most technologically advanced in the UK. At full operating capacity, the factory will be capable of producing 150,000 units annually.
The group also has an engine manufacturing centre (EMC) in Wolverhampton, that will produce electric drive units (EDUs) for the global market. The plant, which employs 1,600 people also produces a range of Ingenium diesel and petrol engines.
Partnership with BMW
A strategic partnership with BMW will see Jaguar Land Rover collaborate on the development of future EDUs. Both parties will share knowledge and expertise in areas ranging from research and development to production planning and benefit from the economies of scale from joint procurement in the supply chain. Each side will separately develop the EDUs to suit their respective needs and will be produced at their own facilities.
New modular platform design
Underpinning the next XJ will be the company's new Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) platform. It is a versatile platform that can accommodate diesel and petrol combustion engines in addition to hybrid and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). This platform is likely to form the basis of many Jaguar and Land Rover models in the future.
At the announcement, Prof Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover said: "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."
Presently, just one BEV features in the Jaguar range. The I-Pace is produced by production partner Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria.