Borg Warner starts work on £2m R&D facility set to safeguard 200 jobs

Electric vehicle innovator Borg Warner’s ambitious growth plans have taken a step forward as work starts on a new £2m state-of-the-art research and development lab in Gateshead.

The fast-growing firm creates parts for low-carbon vehicles and is benefiting from a global move to increase the use of electric cars.

US giant Borg Warner, which bought out Gateshead company Sevcon last year, moved into 55,000 sq ft of premises at the rear of Gateshead College’s Skills Academy for Construction in March 2017. Two existing properties are being remodelled to facilitate the company’s expansion.

Borg Warner has appointed Knight Frank Newcastle to develop the facility on Team Valley which will safeguard 200 new jobs.

The laboratory, which will be used by engineers to develop clean technology prototypes for testing, is the second phase of the development. The first phase - a two-storey office block on the same site on Princesway - is now complete.

Knight Frank’s building consultancy team, headed by partner Ian Tew, is project managing the development of the laboratory. He said: “We have actually been working on this project for over a year as we were originally appointed by Sevcon prior to the company being taken over by Borg Warner, so it’s a relief to finally get on site and get started.

“It’s a very exciting, futuristic development to be involved with and because the project is securing a significant amount of local jobs, it’s even more of a pleasure to be steering it.”

Robertson North East are the general contractors, Blake Hopkinson are the architects, Portland Engineers are taking care of the structural engineering and Wilson Grey are the mechanical and electrical engineers.

The increased use of electric cars has seen the Gateshead business grow headcount over the last three years and build up a £320m order book. The firm is looking to boost its staff numbers from 100 to 300 in the next three years.

David Sidlow, general manager at Borg Warner, said: “We are delighted to have Knight Frank onboard to project manage the next phase of our expansion.

“The new premises will provide us with the facilities and space to achieve the next stage of our growth strategy. We are investing heavily in the new offices and testing facilities and hope to be up-and-running by the Summer next year.”