Further plans revealed for UK’s largest battery gigafactory
The West Midlands Gigafactory joint venture has unveiled further plans to develop the UK’s largest battery gigafactory from 2025, as it continues to explore investment opportunities with battery manufacturers from around the globe.
The project, being run as a JV between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport, was first announced in February this year and is intended to secure the UK auto sector’s long-term electric future. It’s since submitted a planning application for a gigafactory at Coventry Airport.
Planned to be production-ready in 2025, the new gigafactory will become the UK’s largest single industrial facility, covering the same area as 74 full-size football pitches.
At full capacity it will produce up to 60GWh – enough to power 600,000 electric vehicles per year.
It will be powered by a planned major boost to the local energy network, giving the gigafactory access to a 100% renewable electricity supply, from a combination of solar power and grid-supplied renewables.
It will also be able to recycle used batteries as well as build new ones, while also creating up to 6,000 jobs directly and thousands more in the local supply chain.
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.”
The West Midlands gigafactory has support from an alliance of West Midlands industrial groups, local government and academic institutions, including the West Midlands Combined Authority, Warwick District Council, Warwickshire County Council, Rugby Council, Warwick Manufacturing Group at University of Warwick, Coventry University and the Manufacturing Technology Centre.
Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor, commented: “From securing the future of our region’s automotive industry and the huge economic and job creation that would bring, to helping protect our planet from the climate change emergency, a West Midlands Gigafactory would be a complete game-changer for our region – and we are making it happen.
“By submitting our planning application earlier this year, and now answering the difficult question around power supply and renewable energy, we are doing what we can to be able to get the site operational ASAP once a commercial negotiation between supplier and customer concludes.
“The West Midlands is already home to the country’s biggest car manufacturer, Europe’s largest research centre of its kind, the UK’s only battery industrialisation centre, and a world-leading supply chain. A gigafactory therefore is the natural next step for the UK’s automotive heartland, and, working in partnership with industry and the Government, we will not rest until we have secured one.”