Call for more electrification for West Midlands

More needs to be done to get the region ready for the move to electric vehicles, an expert claims.

Stuart Hateley
Stuart Hateley

Industrialist Stuart Hateley, of Grayson Thermal Systems in Birmingham, believes the region is poised to miss the opportunity to ensure that all tiers of the supply chain have the chance to benefit from the move to more sustainable vehicles.

The managing director, who has been in charge at the Tyseley-based firm since 2009, wants local MPs and the West Midlands Combined Authority to come together with industry to find a way of ensuring more of the vehicles destinated for West Midlands roads feature locally made components.

He made the rallying call after his own firm sealed a major deal to supply up to 400 heating ventilation and air conditioning systems for electric buses being made for use in Dublin.

“The West Midlands has had a great start to the year with a £2.5 billion electric vehicle battery factory in Coventry receiving early-stage planning permission and, more recently, the £50m deal with National Express to deliver 130 electric buses by 2023,” explained Stuart, who is joined at the helm of the business by brothers Ian and James Hateley.

He said:“This is great news for the region in our bid to lead the electrification race, but what I’d like to know is if anything is being done to ensure there is local content in these projects or is most of the money going outside the region or even the country?”

Mr Hateley added: “We have a lot of skills and technology already established in the area and what better way to help increase our domestic supply chain capacity than to involve suppliers in how these vehicles/infrastructure projects are built.

“I’d love to see Andy Street and local MPs really get behind this, maybe in the shape of a taskforce that also gets manufacturers and academia on board. Get this right and it potentially could create thousands of high-skilled jobs locally, which will pour revenue back into the coffers of the Treasury.”

Grayson Thermal Systems, which was founded in 1978 by current chairman Graham Hateley, has bounced back from the pandemic after securing more than £8 million of orders from customers including ABB, Solaris, Skoda and Wrightbus.

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Group annual turnover has now risen to £32m and more than 40 new jobs have already been created, with another 12 positions now available across engineering, operations and administration.

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