high speed train on tracks

Net zero transport in Coventry and Warwickshire

Green transport is driving the UK towards net zero, and Coventry and Warwickshire offer an ecosystem for developing and deploying net zero transport technologies.

Companies in Coventry and Warwickshire can tap into first-class research universities with strong links to industry, a leading cluster of public and private R&D assets, and opportunities to connect with a robust supply chain of transport technology businesses.

vehicle manufacturing

Location:

Coventry and Warwickshire (Midlands)

Investment type:

Foreign direct investment

Sector:

Zero emission vehicles

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Michael Green

Senior Investment Adviser

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Sector and market opportunity

Coventry and Warwickshire is a global centre of future mobility R&D in many sectors, including aerospace, automotive, rail, marine propulsion and last mile delivery.

This has given the region key capabilities and experience across:

  • light-weighting
  • battery technology
  • hydrogen
  • connected and automated mobility (CAM) technologies

It’s a hub for engineering and design talent, who work in a unique ecosystem of universities, vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, and R&D facilities. Major brands in the area include:

  • BMW
  • CAF Rail
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • London EV Company
  • GE Power Conversion
  • Rolls Royce

Growth prospects

Opportunities in the region are growing quickly. These include:

  • the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) opening to develop and manufacture the next generation of batteries
  • the West Midlands Gigafactory JV bringing forward planning for a 470,000sqm battery assembly and recycling facility
  • the MIRA Technology Park R&D campus expanding with a 60-hectare manufacturing site
  • Coventry VLR, Vivarail, and Porterbrook’s Hydroflex demonstrating zero-carbon technologies in rail
  • the Air-One transport hub in Coventry, the world’s first airport for electric flying cars and autonomous drones and first vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) demonstration facility

Location

Coventry and Warwickshire, between London, Oxford, and Birmingham, has a population of one million within a 1-hour travel time. Two leading universities mean it’s a popular location for R&D and technology businesses.

It is the traditional home of UK automotive and part of the Midlands’ aerospace and rail clusters.

Recent investors in the region include:

  • BSA Classic Legends
  • DaimlerBenz
  • Lotus
  • Meggitt
  • REE Automotive
  • Rimac
  • Porterbrook

Connectivity

The region is convenient for access to the UK motorway network and Birmingham International Airport, with London Heathrow just 90 minutes away.

There are 3 rail-freight hubs in the area and Coventry is a short distance from the first stop on the new HS2 route.

The 5G West Midlands (WM5G) mobile technology will accelerate the benefits of 5G in the area.

Coventry City has a very high number of electric-vehicle charging points per capita, while JLR at Gaydon has 166 chargers on site.

Local talent and skills

The area has:

  • more than 50,000 employed in transport technology and specialist manufacturing
  • 25,000 employed in Motorsport Valley, home to several Formula 1 racing teams
  • 27,545 university students studying engineering and technology and 13,765 studying computer science

The University of Warwick is a top-10 UK university, while Coventry has been named Modern University of the Year by the Times and Sunday Times newspapers.

The region has vocational skills support from:

  • MIRA Technology Institute
  • the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (with Coventry University and Unipart)
  • Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre at the MTC
  • the WMG Advanced Apprenticeship Centre

Research and expertise

The region’s R&D collaboration facilities include:

  • UKBIC
  • the National Automotive Innovation Campus (NAIC)
  • HORIBA-MIRA
  • UK catapult centres at the Manufacturing Technology Centre and Warwick Manufacturing Group
  • Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre

There are also testing centres across the area. The CAM Testbed UK is a network of 6 facilities exploring testing capabilities for future mobility, and Midlands Future Mobility can offer real-world testing in city, urban and rural environments.

Coventry is becoming one of the UK’s ‘smartest’ cities, with plans for an all-electric bus fleet, very light rail, energy storage, an urban airport and on-street testing of autonomous vehicle technology.

Region Spotlight
Midlands

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The Midlands is home to the largest number of medical technology and device companies in the country. The region is ideally placed for the distribution of manufactured goods, reaching 92% of the UK population within 4 hours. Birmingham is at the heart of one of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects, HS2, and is set to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

View all investment opportunities in Midlands

Enabling clean growth

Green transport is making a significant contribution to the UK’s net zero ambitions; inward investment is focused on key growth areas such as:

  • vehicle software and autonomy
  • battery manufacturing and power electronics
  • new fuel cells
  • the deployment of alternative energy solutions such as hydrogen

The government’s transport decarbonisation plan aims to:

  • end the sale of new, polluting road vehicles by 2040
  • achieve a net zero rail network by 2040
  • achieve net zero aviation emissions by 2050
  • accelerate off-highway and maritime decarbonisation

Local and national government support

Nationally, the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s Collaborative Research and Development (CR&D) competitions aim to speed up the development of low-carbon technology to commercialisation by attracting collaboration through foreign direct investment.

The Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) is creating a sustainable and competitive UK supply chain for the design, build, manufacture and recycling of zero-emission vehicles.

Coventry and Warwickshire offer support with skills, recruitment and investment in capital expenditure and green technologies.

OX Global

OX Global in the UK is developing the world’s first electric truck designed for emerging markets and started pilot operations in Rwanda.

In the past 12 months, the company secured 5 grants worth a total £2m from Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre. They’ve funded projects in partnership with Potenza CNH (Case New Holland), Penso and Sunswap.

These projects will speed up the delivery of the world’s first clean transport ecosystem, enabled by the electric OX truck.

Lotus Engineering

Lotus is a British automotive company owned by Geely of China. In 2021, the company set up an advanced technology centre at Wellesbourne Innovation Campus to develop zero-carbon sports cars and SUVs.

Lotus received £2m APC funding as part of LEVA, a consortium developing lightweight auto structures.

Other Geely-group companies in the area are also developing zero carbon propulsion platforms, including Polestar (premium cars and sports cars) and the London EV company (light vans and taxis).

Vivarail

Vivarail designs and manufactures the UK’s only battery and battery hybrid trains. Clients include West Midlands Trains, Transport for Wales, and the Isle of Wight Island Line.

Vivarail’s Fast Charge battery-electric trains automatically recharge using a battery bank, which stores off-peak power from renewable sources.

The group secured £1.5 million in funding through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), to be used to support growth in the Midlands, relocation to a larger site and workforce expansion.

At COP26, supported by the Department for Transport, Network Rail and Transport Scotland, Vivarail will lead the alternative traction event and run a daily service out of Glasgow for delegates and VIPs, to demonstrate this new technology.

Other opportunities

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