Jaguar Land Rover has taken the first steps to convert its Halewood factory near Liverpool to produce electric vehicles and secure the future of the factory as the company begins to roll out low and zero-emission vehicles.
The company has launched a tender process to upgrade factories to build cars on the new electrified modular architecture “Native BEV”.
Models using the new platform will include replacements for the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport, both of which are built at the Halewood plant.
Jaguar Land Rover has already confirmed the platform for its Halewood plant, one of three car assembly plants in the UK, but the confirmation will be good news for the plant’s 3,700 employees amid the height of uncertainty.
Sources have said that the extended shutdown period for factory remodeling will take place in 2024. Jaguar Land Rover has announced that the car will land on its EMA platform that same year.
The company has decided to cut capacity by 25% as part of a Reimagine transformation plan announced by chief executive Thierry Bolloré in 2021, after announcing plans to repurpose its Castle Bromwich Factory.
Halewood’s role in the manufacture of electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrids and hybrids on the flexible EMA platform has been confirmed, which will secure its future. The plant, opened in 1963 by Ford, has reserved part of the site to make transmissions and will invest more than £200m to convert it into an electric powertrain plant by 2024.
Jaguar Land Rover also submitted a planning application that summer to expand the Halewood body shop to “increase production capacity for the new model line”, according to documents lodged with Knowsley Local Council. The two-storey new building will add around 32,000 square meters of additional body shop, where the car’s metal body will be assembled.
Jaguar Land Rover’s chief financial officer, Adrian Mardell, told investors on a July conference call that Jaguar Land Rover is currently working on technical approvals for the new EMA platform.
The EMA platform has been described as “born from an obsession with simplicity” according to JLR. The platform is “battery agnostic”, meaning it can accept any battery shape and chemistry, JLR has claimed. It can accept “small-capacity, high-performance combustion engines”, which is likely to mean the plug-in hybrid, hybrid and mild hybrid versions of the car will use the company’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine that powers the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport plug-in hybrid models.
By 2030, JLR aims to have 60% of its global sales fully electrified, of which 10% will be plug-in hybrids and 30% will be mild or standard hybrids. It said it aims to have all cars sold globally be zero-emissions by 2036.
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