Plans for new Coventry electric car battery Gigafactory ‘huge leap forward’
Author: Responsible Business News / Date: 16 February 2021
Hundreds of jobs could be created as council identifies site near city’s airport and hopes to start production by 2025.
A joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd will seek pre-emptive planning permission for a “gigafactory” to manufacture electric car batteries beside the city’s airport.
Investment in UK battery factories was identified as a key goal to save automotive jobs as the sector moves away from the internal combustion engine toward electric vehicles. The UK government has made up to £500m funding available for gigafactory investment, which the West Midlands will bid for in due course.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said the identification of the preferred site was a “huge leap forward”.
“The West Midlands is the natural place for a UK Gigafactory as we are already home to the country’s biggest car manufacturer, Europe’s largest research centre, the UK’s only battery industrialisation centre, and a world-leading supply chain,” he said.
“The next step is to submit the case to Government to win the funding required, and discussions are already well underway with the UK’s leading car makers and battery suppliers across the globe to put together the strongest bid possible.”
The West Midlands region is already home to 28% of the UK’s automotive talent and home to the global headquarters of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), the UK’s largest car manufacturer, LEVC, BMW, Aston Martin Lagonda, Lotus, TATA Motors to name a few.
JLR said it would switch its Jaguar Brand to pure electric technology by 2025, before ceasing all production of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2036, meaning it will require over a hundred thousand batteries each year.
Chief executive of JLR, Thierry Bolloré, said: “If there might be one day a battery plant or several plants, why not in the UK? We would be very, very glad. It would make a lot of sense in terms of supply chain to be close by any battery plant.”
The Coventry airport site would accommodate up to 4.5m sq ft of commercial space and make use of existing development and large areas of hard standing. A vital lifeline for the automotive industry in the West Midlands, the gigafactory will create thousands of green jobs, attracting up to £2bn of investment, and support the drive for Net Zero.
BritishVolt, a start-up, acquired exclusive rights to a site in Blyth, Northumberland, for a proposed lithium ion battery manufacturer near Nissan’s Sunderland plant. Confirmed as the UK’s first gigafactory the company aim to have the plant up and running by the end of 2023.
The firm will invest £2.6 billion in the project and provide over 3,000 jobs to the region and 5,000 more across the plant’s supply chain.
Coventry council hope to attract an experienced manufacturer to start production by 2025. For more information visit the Gigafactory website. Responsible Business News will provide updates when available.