3 minute read - 24th October 2023
JLR opens new £250m electric vehicle testing facility
JLR has unveiled its new Future Energy Lab, a £250m state-of-the-art electric vehicle (EV) test facility, as it prepares to launch nine pure electric models by 2030.
The new 323,000 sq ft facility at JLR’s Whitley Engineering Centre in Coventry will host more than £40m 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.
By increasing its capacity for testing EVs on-site, JLR says it is minimising the cost of, and the emissions associated with sending fleets of prototype cars around the world for test assessments. More than 200 EV engineers are already working at the facility, with a further 150 roles set to be created. JLR is also planning a further £22m worth of investment next year, as it continues to upgrade the Coventry site.
Thomas Mueller, executive director of product engineering at 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 for powertrain test operations at 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 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.