Jeff Pratt has been appointed managing director of the £80m UK Battery Industrialisation Centre which is part of the government’s Faraday Battery Challenge - a £246m commitment over the next four years on battery development for the automotive sector.
A national competition, which was led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) and supported by Innovate UK, to establish a new UK facility was won through a joint bid by WMG, at the University of Warwick, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Coventry City Council.
The UKBIC will deliver on the UK’s Industrial Strategy and will develop the processes to transition the UK to become a world leader in design, development and manufacture of batteries through collaborative R&D between industry and academia.
The centre will see the development of the next generation of battery systems across battery chemistry, electrodes, cell design, module and pack level. Described as an ‘open access facility’, it is due to open in 2020.
Pratt is currently general manager at Nissan’s Lithium Ion Battery Plant in Sunderland, and is expected to take up his role as managing director of UKBIC in June and will be reporting to professor Lord Bhattacharyya.
He joined Nissan in 1987 and has held various management positions within the vehicle manufacturing plant at Sunderland. These include Paint Shop engineering manager between 2001 and 2006, and Trim and Chassis engineering manager between 2006 and 2009.
The 55-year-old moved to the Li battery plant in 2009 and had overall responsibility for construction, commissioning and the operation of Nissan’s UK battery business.
He has had responsibility for delivering a range of new model and facility projects as well as managing daily operations in part of the biggest car manufacturing facility in the UK.
Pratt, who has a BEng (Hons) in Electrical Engineering and MEng, commented: “The automotive industry is undergoing huge change with electrification.
“The UKBIC, in conjunction with the Faraday Battery Challenge, will play a pivotal role in supporting the UK’s Electric Vehicle battery industry and enhancing development growth in the UK.”
Ian Constance, CEO at the APC, said “Battery innovation is a key area of growth and the UKBIC has a vital role to play in helping the UK to set new standards in battery technology.
“Jeff and his team will act as a focal point for collaboration as the UK aims to set ground-breaking levels of performance and quality.”
The UKBIC is an initial element of the government’s new Industrial Strategy, and addresses the joined-up electrification agenda developed by the Automotive Council and the APC. It is a key element in leveraging the opportunities in electrification potentially worth £5 – £50bn and driving significant jobs growth across the UK.
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