Thursday, June 6, 2019

News: Ricardo could be next global name to invest in Rotherham

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Ricardo plc, a global strategic engineering and environmental consultancy that specialises in the transport, energy and scarce resources sectors, is progressing plans to open a multimillion pound facility in Rotherham.

Headquarted in Shoreham-by-Sea, and with revenues of £380m in 2017/18, the company is also involved in the niche manufacture and assembly of high-performance products, notably as an engine supplier for McLaren Automotive.

Now Ricardo could join McLaren in Rotherham after a grant was approved by the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority in a bid to secure the inward investment.

A line in the recent combined authority papers shows that a BIF grant for Ricardo of £1,980,000 has been approved for a total investment of £10,858,924. It would be used for research and development and capital expenditure investment to "establish a high voltage battery R&D and production facility" in Rotherham.

53 jobs would be created.

The £52m Business Investment Fund (BIF) invests in businesses that demonstrate growth or the potential to grow. It helps businesses unlock investment in activity that helps their business to grow, become more productive and recruit new employees.

The fund includes a contribution from the Government's Local Growth Fund resources for the Sheffield city region. Funding has previously been approved for job creating projects in Rotherham from McLaren, Parseq, BA Clic Components and United Caps.

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Ricardo is already an international leader in the development of electric vehicle battery systems, and works with some of the world's leading automakers – from mainstream OEMs to EV specialists.

A Tier 1 member of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Ricardo has previously been awarded a multimillion Euro programme from a premium German automaker for full service battery test and development.

The firm is assisting Volvo Cars with the provision of a large-scale test programme to assess new lithium-ion cells and last year its Performance Products division completed a full EV sports car battery manufacturing concept programme.

Bosses said at the time that the concept's completion was a key milestone in the company's aim to become the niche battery manufacturer of choice for high performance hybrids and EVs.

The project saw Ricardo's manufacturing specialists work in partnership with its hybrid and electric systems engineering group in developing an assembly and manufacturing process for an innovative battery pack based on the exacting requirements of the vehicle manufacturer. In addition, a global supply chain was established that will ultimately be capable of delivering fully assembled and tested battery systems in annual production quantities ranging from hundreds up to multiple thousands.

Mark Barge, managing director of Ricardo Performance Products, said in 2018: "Ricardo has an already well-established capability in the design and engineering of electric and hybrid vehicle battery packs and management systems. As such, it makes complete sense for us to provide a turn-key service – including battery pack manufacture – for performance electric vehicles, in the same way that we manufacture high performance engines, transmissions and drivelines for premium and motorsport applications powered by combustion engines.

"Ricardo has a proven capability in the establishment of complex and high-quality supply chains for high-value, small to medium volume high performance products. The project just completed is a further demonstration of Ricardo's aim to become both the engineering and manufacturing partner of choice for the niche battery systems of high performance EVs and hybrids."

Ricardo and McLaren extended its engine supply agreement earlier this year as the supercar manufacturer progresses a £1.2bn "Track25" business plan which includes the aim of a McLaren sportscar and supercar range that is 100% hybrid by 2025.

Ricardo website

Images: Ricardo / McLaren

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