JLR’s Future Energy Lab is £250m EV hatchery

Designing Electric Drive Units is essential to the next generation of EV. JLR goes all in on new test facility

By PH Staff / Monday, 23 October 2023 / Loading comments

JLR is gearing up to launch nine all-electric new models by 2030. You may have heard. What you might not know is that a £250m slice of its much-publicised £15bn investment pie had been earmarked for a new, state-of-the-art EV test facility – and today the firm declared the new 323,000 square foot facility open. Situated at its Whitley Engineering Centre in Coventry, the so-called Future Energy Lab already employs 200 EV engineers and JLR reckons an additional 150 roles will be required to keep the building humming. 

What exactly will this regiment of plug-in specialists be doing? Well, this is all about scaling up JLR’s capacity for testing and development, so expect everything from electric test rigs to the design and development of new Electric Drive Units (EDU). Apparently, this includes a series of extreme-weather climate chambers for simulating atmospheric conditions ranging from -40 all the way to 55 degrees. 

The latter is important because the manufacturer reckons that it will reduce the requirement for dispatching a fleet of prototype vehicles around the world. Really though, slightly silly name aside, the Future Energy Lab is about JLR doing more things in-house at a much faster speed – something it will absolutely need to do as it gallops towards an all-electric future. The opening of the new facility comes just three months after Tata confirmed that it would build its flagship electric car battery factory in the UK. 

Of course, it’ll be years till we see the fruits of that investment, whereas the FEL is already playing host to the new Range Rover BEV (pictured above). JLR has confirmed that the incoming battery-electric model, due to launch in 2024, is one of the cars due to undergo thousands of hours of testing on the new rigs. “Our vehicles are, and continue to be, at the forefront of an all-electric automotive future,” noted Thomas Mueller, Executive Director of Product Engineering at JLR. “This facility, a core component of our Reimagine strategy, is essential to providing the advanced testing capabilities that will be vital to the performance and reliability of the modern luxury vehicles we are proudly developing.” 

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