Britishvolt has selected a site in Blyth, England, to build the UK’s first battery gigafactory, with the company saying its GBP2.6bn (US$3.4bn), industrial investment is the largest in the North East since Nissan’s arrival in 1984.

The company has acquired exclusive rights to a site in Blyth and intends to start construction in summer, 2021, with Lithium-ion batteries in production by the end of 2023. 

By the final phase of the project in 2027, it will be employing up to 3,000 staff, producing more than 300,000 lithium-ion batteries for the UK automotive industry. It will also provide up to 5,000 jobs in the wider supply chain. 

“This is a tremendous moment both for Britishvolt and UK industry,” said Britishvolt CEO, Orral Nadjari.

“Now we can really start the hard work and begin producing lithium-ion batteries for future electrified vehicles in just three years. It is crucial for the UK automotive industry and for the entire economy that we are able to power the future. The sooner we start, the better.

“Blyth meets all our exacting requirements and could be tailor made. It is on the doorstep of major transport links, easily accessible renewable energy and the opportunity for a co-located supply chain, meets our target to make our gigafactory the world’s cleanest and greenest battery facility.

“We have had an extremely warm welcome from Ian Levy MP and Northumberland County Council and are looking forward to working with them closely on this project.”

For his part, Levy added: “This is an incredibly exciting announcement that will have a massive impact in the constituency and the surrounding area for decades to come. I can’t think of anything comparable in the North East since Nissan invested in Sunderland more than 35 years ago.

“Since Britishvolt first made contact it has been my absolute priority to work in partnership with its leadership team to do everything possible to bring this scheme to Northumberland. Advance Northumberland has also a played a critical role in reaching this point so quickly.

“There is still much to do but the prospect of the UK’s first gigafactory on the old Blyth Power Station site directly creating up to 8,000 jobs is amazing. These jobs will not only return the area to the status of an industrial powerhouse but will help us retain our graduates and provide a huge boost to struggling high streets.

“I look forward to working with all involved and will provide the backing necessary to deliver a scheme that is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

The Britishvolt Gigafactory will be built on a 95-hectare site, formerly the site of the Blyth Power Station. It will use renewable energy, including the potential to use hydro-electric power generated in Norway and transmitted 447 miles under the North Sea via the world’s longest inter-connector from the North Sea Link project.