JLR plant at Wolverhampton gets a new name
The first electric drive units should start flowing from JLR's Wolverhampton plant next year.
A spectacular lightshow was held to mark the renaming of the site.
The Engine Manufacturing Centre at the i54 Business Park is now the Electric Propulsion Manufacturing Centre.
The change of names comes as the 10-year-old site switches to assembling electric drive units and battery packs.
It is part of JLR’S Reimagine Strategy which is seeing it investing £15 billion over five years in an all-electric future for its luxury cars.
Many of the more than 1,000-strong workforce at the EPMC gathered outside to watch the show and a film about the history of the centre.
JLR propulsion manufacturing operations director Marc Bauden told them they would play a key role in the future of JLR,
Steve Marsh, JLR director of global manufacturing, said JLR was investing in its people.
"We are going to succeed together," he enthused.
"The future is super exciting for us all here at JLR."
Mr Bauden, who is from Brittany and joined JLR from Stellantis in February, said the workforce all showed immense pride in what was created at the EPMC.
"I am so proud of everything we have achieved so far," he told workers.
The EMC had marked its two million engines milestone at the end of last year.
"We are embarking on an exciting and challenging journey that will be like no other.
"We are fuelling the future of JLR," he stressed.
Mr Bauden, who is in charge of the i54 site and the new Hams Hall battery assembly centre near Coleshill, said much of the equipment needed for the assembly of the drive units was now on site and there would be much more to come in 2024. Battery packs for JLR's new all-electric models will also be assembled at Wolverhampton as well as electronic modules that will monitor energy in the packs.
Engines will still be manufactured at the site until at least 2035, but more of the site will gradually be switching over to the electric propulsion requirements.
"The former diesel hall where the first diesel engines were made a decade ago will be the first to be utilised," he explained.
Existing robots on the site will be repurposed for the switch over with pieces of the new production process being introduced step by step.
The first electric drive units will be supplied for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
Mr Bauden said JLR could not yet say how many new jobs would be created at Wolverhampton through the transformation of the site, but the process of re-training existing staff with the skills needed was under way.
The move to electric drive unit manufacturing would involve some new technologies including dealing with high voltages and welding skills would also need to be learned by some workers.
The existing mechanical engineering skills of staff would be utilised in the new production system which would require extreme precision.
Some staff from Wolverhampton have already been out to work in joint product engineering teams at other JLR facilities on prototypes and the skills they have been learning will then be passed on to other workers
He said that JLR was already ahead of plan in producing batteries at the assembly centre.
"The first drive units will be produced in 2024," he confirmed.
Mr Bauden said that one of the advantages that JLR had at vWolverhampton was the age of the workforce with the majority between 25 and 45.
"The quite young workforce is one of the strengths of this factory in that they are keen to learn new technologies and skills,"
He said that the site would also need new young workers from the local area in the future as it developed.
The luxury car maker achieved record sales of £13.8 billion in the first half of its financial year. to the end of September. It was up 42 per cent on a year before.
JLR-owner Tata is building an electric car battery factory in Somerset which will create up to 9,000 jobs in the Bridgwater area. Batteries from the new factory will be transported to the i54 and Hams Hall.