Jaguar Intensify Search For Battery Supplier
Chinese new electric vehicle and battery manufacturer BYD is in talks with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) over plans to supply batteries for vehicles from a UK based facility, according to a report.
If the plans come to fruition, BYD could potentially launch a battery production hub in the United Kingdom entirely independently of Jaguar Land Rover.
This move would come as a significant boost to the UK's status in battery cell production, which, compared to other countries across the globe, is relatively low key. In 2017, the government tried to initiate the Faraday Battery Challenge in an attempt to raise the profile and increase battery production, but has, of yet, not been particularly successful.
What has delayed this decision by BYD and JLR is Britain's uncertain trading relationship with the European Union, having left the bloc formally on January 31st of this year.
This is not the only move that Jaguar Land Rover has made towards electrifying their expansive vehicle range. The source also speculates that JLR and BYD may consider developing electric propulsion systems as part of their collaboration. The British car manufacturer has a strategic partnership already formalised last year with BMW to create electrical power trains, but it is not evident whether the BYD agreement will have an impact on this.
As well as this, in preparation for a new modular platform which allows for a combustion engine, hybrid and fully electrical propulsion options, it is ploughing £1billion into it's Castle Bromwich and Solihull plants.
It will provide the basis for the upcoming XJ EV saloon, alongside the flagship J-Pace SUV and the forthcoming "Road Rover" model Land Rovers, with the I-Pace electric SUV based on an older platform. It is also widely believed that at some point in the future, Jaguar is seriously considering turning the F-Type sports car into an electric vehicle too.
At the moment, Jaguar Land Rover sells the Jaguar I-Pace electric crossover, built in Austria by Magna Steyr. It has plans to manufacture and sell a full-electric version of the Jaguar XJ Sedan at it's Castle Bromwich factory in Birmingham.
Up until recently, BYD's presence in the European markets was limited to just electric buses, which is manufactures in France and Hungary. BYD was established in 1995 as a battery producer but the Auto division of the company has only been around since 2003 and as yet does not produce any batteries in Europe - they are currently imported from China. Earlier this year, a new LFP battery was introduced by BYD. The 'Blade Battery' is said to have a higher energy density and is generally safer in all situations. It will be installed in Han electric limousines, to begin with, and the model could be offered in Europe a little later on.
Recently, BYD also launched the Tang EV600 - an electric SUV. This marks the leap to the European market for the firm and is due to go on sale in Norway at some point towards the end of this year - watch this space!