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October 25, 2021

West Midlands Gigafactory unveils further plans for UK site

Gigafactory will be adjacent to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre.

By Simon Warburton

West Midlands Gigafactory, a public private joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport , has unveiled further plans to develop the UK’s largest battery gigafactory.

The Gigafactory will start supplying batteries for electric vehicles from 2025.

It will be the result of a GBP2.5bn (US$3.4bn) investment, creating up to 6,000 new jobs directly and thousands more in the wider supply chain in Coventry and the surrounding region.

The new Gigafactory, which will command more than 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.

It will be powered by a planned boost to the local energy network, giving the Gigafactory access to 100% renewable electricity supply, from a combination of solar power and grid-supplied renewables. The factory will be able to recycle used batteries, as well as build new ones in an approach known as ‘cradle to cradle.’

“The West Midlands Gigafactory has a singular mission to create a battery gigafactory in the heart of the UK automotive industry,” said West Midlands Gigafactory project director, Mike Murray.

“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 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.”

Based at Coventry Airport , the Gigafactory will be adjacent to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, part of the UK’s Faraday Challenge. The Centre provides a link between research at laboratory or prototype stages and mass production of new battery technologies.

“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,” added West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street.

“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.”

 West Midlands Gigafactory has support from an alliance of West Midlands industrial groups, local government and academic institutions. This includes the West Midlands Combined Authority, Warwick District Council, Warwickshire County Council, Rugby Council, Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick, Coventry University and the Manufacturing Technology Centre.

Coventry Airport was first opened in 1936 by Coventry City Council , which continues to own the freehold of the site. It operated as RAF Baginton during the Second World War and commercial passenger flights were subsequently reinstated until 2009.

Rigby Group acquired the long leasehold in 2010 and it remains in its ownership.

An outline planning proposal for the West Midlands Gigafactory was submitted in July and the application is yet to be determined. 

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