Press Report : HMG’s £10m loan to Tata in Coventry for EV car production

Tom Scotney, Birmingham Post, 18th September, 2009

The Government has made a £10 million loan to Jaguar Land Rover owners Tata Motors to manufacture electric cars in the UK. The loan was given to the Tata Motors European Technical Centre plc (TMETC), based at the University of Warwick, in Coventry, and is backed by £25m of investment from Tata itself. It is the first loan the Government has made from the Automotive Assistance Programme (AAP) which was set up at the start of the year to support the ailing automotive industry.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said it would create engineering jobs in the West Midlands and promote a low-carbon engineering sector. He said: “The Government is determined to help the car industry to exploit fully the opportunities offered by green manufacturing. Today we are backing Tata, as Tata backs Britain.

“This loan will strengthen our electric vehicle manufacturing expertise, securing and creating high value engineering jobs in the West Midlands. TMETC will continue to invest in R&D in the next generation of sustainable transport, helping it become a lead player in this exciting and important technological area.”

Tata Motors has developed a four-seater electric vehicle, based on the Tata Indica Vista passenger car which was launched in India last year. The Indica Vista electric vehicle has a range of up to 125 miles and a top speed of 65mph (electronically limited) and will be in production before the end of 2009.

The Government is determined to help the car industry to exploit fully the opportunities offered by green manufacturing. Today we are backing Tata, as Tata backs Britain. This loan will strengthen our electric vehicle manufacturing expertise, securing and creating high value engineering jobs in the West Midlands. TMETC will continue to invest in R&D in the next generation of sustainable transport, helping it become a lead player in this exciting and important technological area.” Lord Mandelson, Business Secretary

The vehicle uses battery technology developed and produced in Norway, and the first cars to hit the road in Europe will be unveiled in Norway before the end of the year, a spokesman for Tata said. They will also be seen on the streets of Birmingham and Coventry as part of a Technology Strategy Board project to introduce low-carbon cars to the UK. Tata Motors will be supplying 25-30 models of the Indica Vista EV to be used in the Technology and Skills Board trials taking place in Birmingham and Coventry.

The Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) currently employs 180 people in the West Midlands, and says it expects job numbers will rise to 441 by 2014, including 70 jobs created by the EV project. TMETC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Motors, was established by Tata Motors in September 2005 and is located in the UK West Midlands.

The centre is engaged in advanced automotive technology and vehicle product development and employs circa 180 people, including some of the most experienced and talented automotive engineers in Europe. It is one of a consortium of companies in the West Midlands participating in the Government’s Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator programme.

[Source: Birmingham Post]

Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

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