West Midlands Gigafactory, a public private joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd, has unveiled further plans to develop the UK’s largest battery Gigafactory, as it continues to explore investment opportunities with battery manufacturers from around the globe.
The Gigafactory will begin supplying high-tech batteries for electric vehicles from 2025 – and will be the result of a £2.5bn investment, creating up to 6,000 new highly skilled jobs directly and thousands more in the wider supply chain in Coventry and the surrounding region.
Although the plans to install a Gigafactory for battery production in the West Midlands are not new, the scale has gone up a notch with the inclusion of the ambitious capacity of 60 GWh. What’s more, the new Gigafactory, which will cover more than half a million square metres of space (74 full-size football pitches), will be one of the largest single industry facilities of any kind in the UK. At full capacity, it will be capable of delivering up to 60GWh of production 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. The West Midlands Gigafactory will be able to recycle used batteries as well as build new ones in an industry leading approach known as “cradle to cradle.”
“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,” said Mike Murray, West Midlands Gigafactory Project Director.
“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.”
West Midlands Gigafactory has support from a unique alliance of West Midlands industrial groups, local government and academic institutions. This alliance includes 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.
An outline planning proposal for the West Midlands Gigafactory was submitted in July and the application is yet to be determined.
“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,” said Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor.
“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.”