Tony leads EV charge

Leading automotive industry R&D expert, Tony Harper, is to take up a new role heading up the UK government’s multi-million research and innovation fund into electric vehicle battery development.

Tony Harper is currently director of engineering research for Jaguar Land Rover, a role he has held since 2006. He will join UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on 9 April to take up the post of Faraday Battery Challenge director.

The Faraday Battery Challenge is a £246m government investment into battery technology through the Industrial Strategy. It will develop safe, cost effective, durable, lighter weight, higher performing and recyclable batteries in the UK which will power the next generation of electric vehicles.

The UK is already a leader in Europe in terms of electric vehicle manufacture and uptake. In 2016 the UK-manufactured Nissan Leafs accounted for almost 20% of battery electric car sales across Europe and the UK had the highest sales of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in the EU.

Tony Harper said, ‘I am absolutely delighted to be appointed to the role of Faraday Challenge Director. This is a unique opportunity to maximize the advantage for the UK from the shift to the electrification of transport by creating a high tech, high value, high skill industry in Battery technology. It is also a very exciting time to be joining UKRI as it sets out to become the best Research and Innovation agency in the world.’

Business minister Richard Harrington said, ‘With 200,000 electric vehicles set to be on UK roads by the end of 2018, investment in car batteries is a massive opportunity for Britain and one that, through our flagship Industrial Strategy and the Automotive Sector Deal, the government is committed to seizing.

‘To realise our grand ambitions in this area we need great leadership, which is why I am delighted that someone as talented and respected in the sector as Tony Harper will be spearheading our efforts to make Britain the ‘go-to’ destination for the development and deployment of this game-changing technology.’