Further plans have been unveiled today that would see the UK’s biggest gigafactory built at Coventry Airport.
The proposals, put forward by Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd, would see the new battery plant opening in 2025.
The plant is expected to cost around £2.5bn and will supply high-tech batteries for electric vehicles all round the world.
It is estimated the project will create up to 6,000 new highly skilled jobs directly and thousands more in the wider supply chain in Coventry and the surrounding region.
The new gigafactory, which will command over half a million square metres of space – equivalent to 74 full-size football pitches, will be one of the largest single industry facilities of any kind in the UK and at full capacity will be capable of delivering up to 60GWh of production per year.
Plans were originally submitted in July but more details have now been revealed.
The site will be powered by a planned major boost to the local energy network, giving the Gigafactory access to a 100 per cent renewable electricity supply, from a combination of solar power and grid-supplied renewables.
Known as the ‘West Midlands Gigafactory’, it will be able to recycle used batteries as well as build new ones in an industry leading approach known as ‘cradle to cradle’.
Mike Murray, West Midlands Gigafactory project director ‘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.’
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change at Coventry City Council, added: ‘Coventry is the historical home of the automotive industry in the UK, where much of the cutting-edge technology that defined the global car industry last century was created here in our city.
‘Now, as we stand at the dawn of a new electric age, we fully intend for Coventry to be very front of the green industrial revolution which will power the future of the automotive industry.
‘The West Midlands Gigafactory is a unique public private sector joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd, supported by an alliance of local governments, industrial groups and universities.
‘It will provide a huge amount of certainty to our automotive industry, as well as providing much needed jobs and investment to our region.
‘This project puts Coventry at the heart of the British battery industry, giving it access to the region’s world-class skills, R&D and supply chain capabilities.’
The announcement follows news earlier this year that a partially government-funded gigafactory is to open at Nissan’s Sunderland plant.
Car Dealer has previously reported that the government has set aside around £500m to invest in similar projects.
The project has also been backed by Andy Street, West Midlands mayor, who says he wants to get the site operational as soon as possible.
He said: ‘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.’