Rotherham battery plant plan for McLaren’s engine maker

The firm that makes engines for McLaren supercars is set to build a £10m battery plant in Rotherham.

By David Walsh
Friday, 07 June, 2019, 15:25
Ricardo engine prodction line

Ricardo plans to establish a high voltage battery factory and research and design facility, creating 53 jobs.

The location is unknown, but McLaren last year opened a chassis factory on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in the borough.

McLaren Senna.

Ricardo is famous for supplying all of McLaren’s engines. It is also a world leader in battery systems and last year completed a sports car concept programme.

Bosses said it was a key milestone in the company's ambition to supply high performance electric and hybrid cars.

At the same time, McLaren says it will convert all of its cars to hybrids by 2025 as the auto industry prepares for tighter emission standards around the world. It is also said to be working on an all-electric hypercar.

Last week the Woking headquartered firm revealed sales last year were up 76 per cent. It sold 4,829 supercars – 45 per cent more than in 2017 – and revenues leapt from £605 million to £1.1 billion.

Ricardo applied for a £1.98m grant from the Sheffield City Region’s Business Investment Fund which has been approved in a bid to secure the inward investment.

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The company is also a Tier One member of the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. And it already has a site in Sheffield, at Redlands Business Centre, on Tapton House Road.

The news comes after a turbulent week for Rotherham businesses. Powdered metals pioneer Metalysis is seeking a buyer after collapsing into administration.

The firm received £92m from investors but failed to close another funding round in time. Revenue last year was £886,000 and it made a £7m loss.

Directors appointed administrators who are now running the business while ‘urgently’ trying to find new owners.

Metalysis was founded in 2001 to capitalise on a patented method of producing rare metals such as titanium - or any combination of metals - faster, cheaper and greener than earlier processes.

Two days later the UK Atomic Energy Authority announced plans for a £22m fusion energy research centre in the borough.

It is set to open a base on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, employing 30, by summer 2020. It could also lead to 75 new jobs in the supply chain and pump £40m into the local economy, a report states. The proposed site is next to McLaren on Selden Way.