Transport & Future Mobility
The Midlands is renowned for advanced manufacturing. Building on over a century of innovation and invention from world-beating companies across the automotive, aerospace and rail sectors. This foundation of technical knowledge that continues to bring expertise from across the globe to live and work in the Midlands is continuing to shape the future of travel, transport and mobility.
Our business and innovation base means that the Midlands is still the best place in the world to invest in transport technologies. Our companies and universities are harnessing the possibilities of alternative fuels, building gigafactories and are creating outstanding investment opportunities across the region.
44% of the value of UK vehicle production originates from our region. The Midlands is home to nine volume car manufacturers, seven commercial vehicle manufacturers, 3 off-highway manufacturers, 5 motorcycle manufacturers and 16 of the world’s top 20 automotive suppliers. Aston Martin, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota are driving the production of electric vehicles and battery technologies as part of the industry’s acceleration towards net zero transport.
One quarter of all UK aerospace output is from the Midlands, and 7% of Europe and 3% of world output, with specific expertise in aero engines, complex aircraft systems and precision-engineered aircraft components. 60% of firms make “flying parts,” 40% make equipment for design, testing, manufacturing or provide specialist services. It employs 45,000 full-time-equivalent jobs due wholly to revenues from manufacturing for global aerospace markets — without counting the region’s airports and military bases.
80% of UK rail freight passes through the Midlands while companies and universities in the region are at the cutting-edge of next generation rail including VLR (very light rail technology) developed by WMG at the University of Warwick and TDI International, and demonstrated at Dudley’s emerging Very Light Rail and Innovation Centre, and the development of HydroFLEX – the UK’S first hydrogen train – via the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) at University of Birmingham and Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre.
Midlands universities and firms are at the cutting edge of the design, development and deployment of battery propulsion and connected and autonomous systems in vehicles. We’re home to major automotive test and development campuses at MIRA Technology Park, University of Warwick National Automotive Innovation Campus and Gaydon Product Creation Centre. The all electric i-Pace, European Car of the Year winner, was designed and developed in the Midlands.
West Midlands Gigafactory’s will create the UK’s largest battery manufacturing facility in the heart of the UK automotive industry. The £130m UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) is a product development facility for manufacturers, entrepreneurs, researchers and educators with existing or new battery technology. Midlands SMEs are making the world’s first serviceable, upgradeable and recyclable lithium batteries.
The Midlands is home to 3 of the 6 Testbed UK facilities funded by the UK Government and private sector partners through Zenzic, who are pioneering the UK shift to connected and self-driving vehicles of the future: Midlands Future Mobility, ConVEX, and Assured CAV.