West Midlands Gigafactory today announced further plans to become the UK’s largest electric car battery plant as the firm seeks more investment.
The proposed factory, which is yet to secure enough financial backing, aims to open in 2025 but needs £2.5bn of investment. Once up and running, there are hopes it would create up to 6,000 jobs directly and ‘thousands more’ in the wider supply chain.
The West Midlands Gigafactory is a public-private joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport, where it would be located.
The proposed site would cover an area of more than half a million square metres – the equivalent of 74 full-size football pitches. Once completed, it would be the largest single industrial facility in the UK and be capable of delivering up to 60GWh of batteries each year – enough to power 600,000 electric vehicles per year.
The firm says it would have access to a 100 per cent renewable energy supply and would also be able to recycle used electric car batteries.
Mike Murray, West Midlands Gigafactory project director, said: “The West Midlands Gigafactory has a singular mission to create a state-of-the-art battery gigafactory in the heart of the UK automotive industry. It will provide a huge cash investment in the area, leading to thousands of well-paid jobs and creating crucial new skills for this country.
“The Coventry Airport site is perfectly located to do just that, being ideally positioned to supply the UK’s leading automotive manufacturers who need access to world-class batteries on their doorsteps. We need to make these advanced lithium-ion batteries where we make cars and there is no better place than in the West Midlands.”
Plans for the gigafactory were submitted in July, with permission yet to be granted. The company says it ‘continues to explore investment opportunities with battery manufacturers from around the globe’.
Other gigafactories in the pipeline include Britishvolt, which has already been granted planning permission on the former Blyth power station site in Northumberland. Production is set to begin there in 2023, with the company saying it will make enough batteries to supply 300,000 electric vehicles by the time it reaches full capacity in 2026.
In July, Nissan also announced details of a new battery plant in Sunderland that will enable it to scale up its production of EVs in the UK.