Leading automotive industry R&D expert, Tony Harper, is to take up a new role heading up the UK government’s multi-million-pound research and innovation fund into electric vehicle battery development.
Tony Harper is currently director of engineering research for Jaguar Land Rover, a role he has held since 2006.
He is expected to join UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on April 9 to take up the post of Faraday Battery Challenge director.
The Faraday Battery Challenge is a £246m government investment into “game-changing” battery technology through the Industrial Strategy.
It aims to develop safe, cost-effective, durable, lighter weight, higher performing and recyclable batteries in the UK which will power the next generation of electric vehicles.
The UK is already a leader in Europe in terms of electric vehicle manufacture and uptake.
In 2016, UK-manufactured Nissan Leafs accounted for almost 20% of battery electric car sales across Europe, and the UK had the highest sales of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in the EU.
Tony Harper commented: “This is a unique opportunity to maximise the advantage for the UK from the shift to the electrification of transport by creating a high-tech, high-value, high-skill industry in battery technology.”
Business Minister Richard Harrington said: “With 200,000 electric vehicles set to be on UK roads by the end of 2018, investment in car batteries is a massive opportunity for Britain and one that, through our flagship Industrial Strategy and the Automotive Sector Deal, the government is committed to seizing.”
Chief executive of Innovate UK, Ruth McKernan noted: “Tony’s long-standing experience and expertise in automotive research and development means he is the ideal candidate to lead the ground-breaking Faraday Battery Challenge. He will have an important role to play in ensuring the UK is a world leader in the development of automotive battery technologies.”
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