high speed train on tracks

Net zero transport technologies in the West Midlands

The world is transitioning from internal combustion powered vehicles and the West Midlands is at the centre of automotive innovation, developing and deploying future propulsion systems.

Plug into the West Midlands’ extensive capabilities in mobility R&D to accelerate new technologies and manufacturing processes. Battery tech and energy storage opportunities are set to grow, with planning in place for a 241 hectare gigapark development adjacent to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre.

vehicle manufacturing


Coventry and Warwickshire (Midlands)

Investment type:

Foreign direct investment


Zero emission vehicles

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Sector and market opportunity

The West Midlands has capabilities across the vehicle development ecosystem and can support the design, development, testing, prototyping, manufacture and sale of new vehicles. The region has strengths around vehicle propulsion and in lightweighting, battery technology, hydrogen and fuel cell and software and integration.

UK installed and planned manufacturing capacity is around 65GWh of battery storage. Meanwhile, estimates place UK demand for storage at 200GWh by 2040, leaving a substantial market to be addressed.

Growth prospects

The global electric vehicle (EV) market is predicted to grow from $385 billion in 2022 to $1.7 trillion by 2032. Mobility companies seeking to exploit this opportunity will find in the West Midlands the R&D eco-system and supporting supply chain to develop and test battery technology for use in EV vehicles. Government and industry in the West Midlands are further developing this eco-system, with the planned gigapark accelerating the battery manufacturing, recycling and R&D industry.


The West Midlands conurbation has a population of 6 million within a 1-hour travel time. Eight leading universities mean it’s a globally significant location for R&D and technology businesses to develop and commercialise new products.

This is the traditional home of UK automotive and a central part of the Midlands’ aerospace and rail clusters.

Major investors here include:

  • JLR / Tata
  • BSA / Mahindra & Mahindra
  • Daimler-Benz
  • Lotus
  • Meggitt
  • Norton/ TVS
  • Polestar
  • REE Automotive
  • Rimac


The region is at the centre of a connected transport network, in close proximity to London and a 4-hour drive from 90% of the UK’s population. Local connectivity is being enhanced by £5.1 billion of investment to expand rail, tram and bus rapid transit systems, and the showcasing of high-speed and very light rail.

The region features 4 rail freight hubs, and Birmingham airport – the UK’s fastest-growing airport – flies to over 150 destinations.

Local talent and skills

The West Midlands boasts:

  • 80,000+ employed in transport technology and manufacturing
  • 27,545 university students studying engineering and technology
  • 8 leading universities, including 2024 UK Top 15 University of Birmingham and University of Warwick

It also has vocational skills support from:

  • MIRA Technology Institute
  • Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (Coventry University and Unipart)
  • Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre at the MTC
  • WMG Advanced Apprenticeship Centre
  • Black Country & Marches College of Technology
  • MAKE UK Technology Training Centre

Region Spotlight


The Midlands is at the forefront of technologies such as industrial digitisation, life sciences and alternative fuels. It's home to world-class assets and centres of innovative excellence. 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 hosted the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

View all investment opportunities in Midlands

Research and expertise

The region’s R&D collaboration facilities include the:

  • UK Battery Industrialisation Centre
  • WMG Energy Innovation Centre and National Automotive Innovation Centre
  • Coventry University C-ALPs Centre
  • UK catapult centres at Manufacturing Technology Centre and WMG
  • Birmingham Centre for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research
  • Very Light Rail Testing centre at BCIMO in Dudley

Coventry is becoming one of the UK’s ‘smartest’ cities, with an all-electric bus fleet, very light rail, urban drone demonstrator and city-centre testing of autonomous vehicles.

Further details

The West Midlands is currently negotiating with the UK government to devolve funding across areas. This includes transport, skills, employment support, innovation, business productivity and trade and investment, plus the creation of an ‘Investment Zone’ focused on the WM Gigapark.

Potential incentives may include business rates reductions, enhanced capital allowances and reductions in employer National Insurance contributions.

Enabling clean growth

This opportunity will place the UK at the centre of global efforts to revolutionise energy storage and decarbonise transport. Potential areas to benefit include passenger and commercial vehicles, marine, off-highway, trains, motorsport and aircraft.

It provides employment space and a supportive ecosystem to develop world-leading technologies in battery storage, vehicle design and propulsion systems, as well as attracting manufacturing to supply the UK and global export markets.

Local and national government support

The Advanced Propulsion Centre’s Collaborative R&D competitions aim to speed up the development of low-carbon technology to commercialisation by attracting collaboration through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

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.

The Investment Zone at West Midlands Gigapark will bring incentives around business rates, capital expenditure investment and skills and supply chain support.

Success stories


EV spin-out from Volvo Cars, Polestar was able to quickly scale its engineering resources by setting up a team in the West Midlands. This allowed access to local talent and the specialist engineering supply chain and test and development facilities at MIRA Technology Park.

The West Midlands is now a significant part of the Polestar R&D and engineering capability, with over 500 employed at Nuneaton and Coventry. This has grown from just 50 when the UK presence was established in 2019.


The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) helps companies scale and commercialise battery cell product and process technologies. Companies can reduce risk and increase investor/customer confidence in new technologies through demonstration-at-scale without the entry barrier of massive up-front capital costs.

UKBIC was originally delivered through an innovative consortium of Coventry City Council, Coventry and Warwickshire LEP and WMG (University of Warwick), following a funding competition led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre.


Voltempo is a rapid EV charging business founded in the West Midlands. It relocated to Tyseley Energy Park in Birmingham to gain access to an innovative ecosystem and low-carbon on-site energy generation.

Voltempo’s eFREIGHT 2030 project is one of a number of projects to receive a share of £200 million of Innovate UK funding to support the rollout of HGV infrastructure demonstrators across the country.

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