August 2021


News in Brief from our region...

BMW UK and REE Auto receieve nearly £70m funding to develop EV vehicles and batteries

Electric car batteries with range similar to internal combustion engines and which can charge in as little as 12 minutes are among projects awarded more than £91 million of government and industry funding. Four projects have been awarded funding through the Coventry-based Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) Collaborative Research and Development competition, which supports the development of innovative low carbon automotive technology. Two of the four successful projects are based in Warwickshire or have a local link.

BMW UK, whose engine plant is at Hams Hall, Coleshill, which makes engines for both BMW and MINI vehicles, has been awarded £26.2 million to develop an electric battery that will rival the driving range of internal combustion engines, helping put concerns over how far electric vehicles can travel to rest. REEcorner, Nuneaton has been awarded £41.2 million to radically redesign light and medium-sized commercial electric vehicles by moving the steering, breaking, suspension and powertrain into the wheel arch enabling increased autonomous capability, storage space and design flexibility.

Aldi announces further 175 jobs at Atherstone

Aldi Stores has outlined plans to create more than 2,000 jobs across the UK between now and Christmas, including 175 at its Atherstone UK HQ and distribution hub. The supermarket, which currently has more than 920 stores and employs about 38,000 people, is pushing ahead with plans to open more than one new store a week this year. Additionally, Aldi is also on the lookout for more than 80 graduates to join its next graduate scheme intake, starting from September onwards.

£6.3bn deal sees US group parker take off with aerospace giant Meggitt

Meggitt, the Ansty-based manufacturer of components for the power and aerospace industries, is set to be sold to a US counterpart. Parker-Hannafin Corporation will pay £6.3bn for Meggitt, doubling the size of Parker’s aerospace division. Parker already has a number of UK facilities, and is a significant employer at its site in Warwick.

Leamington's popular food and drink festival set to return

After a year away, the popular Leamington Food and Drink Festival is set to return this September in the heart of the town to celebrate the best in local and regional food and drink. The festival, organised by BID Leamington with the support of local businesses, will be held on Saturday September 11 and Sunday September 12 from 10am to 6pm at the Pump Room Gardens. This year, the free to attend festival, will feature around 110 exhibitors offering a variety of food and drink to enjoy on site and to take away.

UK-based consortium established to develop prototype solid-state batteries

A consortium of seven UK-based organisations has signed a memorandum of understanding to combine ambitions to develop world-leading prototype solid-state battery technology, targeting automotive applications. Solid-state batteries offer significant potential advantages over conventional lithium-ion batteries and could be transformational in meeting the UK’s net zero commitments through the electrification of transport. The consortium of 9 includes locally WMG at the University of Warwick, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, and Britishvolt, who will be basing their R&D and HQ at MIRA Technology Park.

Trampoline park jumps at opportunities from £300,000 investment

Exhall-based trampoline park Red Kangaroo has received a £300,000 loan for the purchase of additional equipment and a new inflatable park section. This finance will allow the park to strengthen its facilities, offering more activities for young people in the area. The additional equipment will also enable it to create a layout that follows government guidelines which adheres to social distancing.

Kite Packaging lands at Prospero Ansty

Kite Packaging is constructing a new headquarters at Prospero Ansty and the plans recently received the go-ahead. The the 305,000sqft facility will include office, research and development, as well as light industrial, space, with the three-storey building employing over 200 staff.

US AR Company links Up with MTC at Ansty

A world leader in digital transformation has signed a new partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry that will help industry embrace the latest technologies. American software company PTC, which employs more than 200 people in the UK, has become a Tier 2 member at the MTC and, as part of the agreement, will commit to providing the latest Augmented Reality, Industrial Internet of Things platforms, Product Lifecycle Management and CAD solutions to projects designed to equip OEMs and SMEs with more digital capability.

UK government sets out strategy for a hydrogen economy

The UK Government launched its strategy on Hydrogen in August, to meet its goal of 5 gigawatts (GW) of low-carbon hydrogen production by 2030 to replace natural gas in powering around three million homes, as well as industry and transport. Industry and policy-makers are increasingly looking to hydrogen to lower the environmental impact of sectors that have been the hardest to decarbonise and reduce the use of gas, but the investment required and the technical challenges are high.

Jaguar Land Rover spotlight on demand for auto skill development

A research manager at Jaguar Land Rover has highlighted the need for rapid and immediate skills development within the automotive sector to meet the needs of the ‘automotive revolution’ already underway. Marcus Henry, Lightweighting Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has explained how the journey from ‘blue sky concept to the showroom’ typically takes more than a decade, so work is starting now to develop the ideas that will help JLR meet their net zero carbon target by 2039. Marcus joined the panel at the latest free online industry seminar presented by the MIRA Technology Institute (MTI) which discussed the changing shape of the automotive industry and the latest developments in emerging technologies. He showcased JLR’s ground-breaking Tucana project which is designed to improve the performance and efficiency of electric vehicles.

Exhall EV Taxi maker seeks funding for expansion plans

Dynamo Motor Company has announced plans to recruit 275 people and convert up to 10,000 taxis and commercial/privately owned vehicles per year in 2026. Through its Seedrs campaign Dynamo Motor Company plans to raise £2m, of which it has received over £1.5m in one week, for its growth strategy. The expansion will see Dynamo Motor Company’s all-electric Black Cab production increase and diversification into other mobility sectors that require wheelchair accessibility as well as a last mile delivery van added to its zero emission line-up.

Wellesbourne Agri-tech business secures funding for Greenhouse Tech

Warwick-based RIPE Building Services Ltd has secured a £250k investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund’s West Midlands Equity Fund, managed by Midven. The funding is set to support the firm’s ground-breaking greenhouse system, which enables growers to increase output by capitalising on full-spectrum natural daylight.

Grants awarded to C&W tourism and hospitality businesses

Nearly £5 million of grants has been awarded to tourism and hospitality businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire in the last nine months to help provide support from the ‘perfect storm’ affecting companies in the current economic climate. Tourism and hospitality is the focus of the latest Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub SmartRegion report which gathers information from its business engagements as well as statistics and data from Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council, the CWLEP and other organisations.

New skills and training plan to help local people gain thousands of jobs in health sciences and care

A new skills and training plan developed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and its partners will help local people to secure thousands of jobs in health sciences and care. The WMCA, in partnership with local employers, training providers and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) launched the plan, which aims to move residents into key roles in the region and help those already in the sector to develop their careers.

Engineering Design show among range of trade shows coming to Coventry & Warwickshire

The ninth edition of the Engineering Design Show returns to the newly renamed Coventry Building Society Arena on October 19 and 20, the venue which it launched at in 2012. The show will feature a dedicated area which champions the work engineers did on the vital Ventilator Challenge. It is the UK’s only event entirely dedicated to engineering, electronics and embedded design – and is powered by Eureka, New Electronics and The Engineer. Organisers expect 4,000 people to attend this year’s show, showing significant growing from the 1,331 who attended its debut event at the Arena nine years ago.

Other local shows coming up in the weeks and months ahead include the The AESIN Conference, the Battery Technology Show and The Engineering Design Show. Details on these and other events locally can be found at:

Foreign direct investment points to strong post pandemic recovery

Nearly 2,000 jobs have been created in Coventry and Warwickshire thanks to investment from foreign companies in the last year. According to recently released figures, 1,909 new jobs have been created and 42 jobs safeguarded, with 45 successful foreign direct investments in the area. This 10% jump in projects compares well when set against the overall UK figures, which saw a decline of 12% in UK projects over the same period. Local key sectors were strongly represented, with eight projects from software/ games development and 11 from automotive and advanced engineering.


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