WMG & JLR announce £5.7m vehicle electrification alliance

WMG at the University of Warwick has been awarded £5.7m by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to form a 'Prosperity Partnership' with Jaguar Land Rover focusing on vehicle electrification.

Vehicle Electrification - The British automotive manufacturer recently unveiled its first BEV, the Jaguar I-PACE Concept, expected to be on the roads by 2018 - image courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover.
The British automotive manufacturer recently unveiled its first BEV, the Jaguar I-PACE Concept, expected to be on the roads by 2018 – image courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover.

Vehicle electrification is a strategic target for the UK and a major element in the government’s industrial strategy, representing an opportunity to grow a new globally-competitive industry.

The nation’s strategy for ultra-low emission vehicles states: “The vision is that by 2050, almost every car and van in the UK will be an ultra-low emission vehicle, with the UK at the forefront of their design, development and manufacture, making us one of the most attractive locations for ultra-low emission vehicle–related inward investment in the world.”

To achieve this requires a step-change in knowledge, understanding and technology, with the WMG and Jaguar Land Rover Prosperity Partnership aiming to play a crucial role.

The pair aims to tackle the emerging challenges for vehicle electrification through a unique collaboration to grow scientific understanding. Both are described as sharing the same vision of creating new scientific insights to underpin the Automotive Council’s electrification agenda, from batteries and power electronics to electric motors and electric drive units.

Jaguar Land Rover is working towards a cleaner future, with ultra-clean diesels and petrol engines, BEVs, PHEVs and MHEVs in its strategic plans. It has recently unveiled its first BEV, the Jaguar I-PACE Concept which will be on the roads in 2018. By 2020, the company reportedly aims to offer customers the option of electrification on half of its vehicles.

WMG has considerable research strengths in a range of the technologies needed; one example being WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre, a national facility for battery research. This facility supports the test, development and scale-up of new battery chemistries from concept through to fully-proven traction batteries.

Current research focuses on developing cheaper, higher energy density, safer batteries with emphasis on new battery chemistries, electro-mechanical behaviour, second life applications, super-capacitors and high rate chemistries.

WMG and Jaguar Land Rover have identified energy systems and advanced propulsion as the starting point for its proposed EPSRC Prosperity Partnership. The research will focus on bearing and gear surfaces, batteries, power electronics and electric machines. However, the partnership will also embed that research into learning within skills programmes.

This award is one of a set of ‘Prosperity Partnerships’, which will receive £31m of government funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). This will be matched by a further £36m from partner organisations in cash or in-kind contributions, plus £11m from the various partner universities’ funds, totalling £78m in all.