A planning application has been submitted by Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd for a 5.7 million square foot Gigafactory in the West Midlands. The Gigafactory is to be powered fully by solar and wind energy in a bid to improve the sustainability of the EV supply chain. The factory will be strategically located in the centre of the West Midlands automotive manufacturing hub with Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, Aston Martin Lagonda and LEVC a stone’s throw away.
The need for localised battery production is growing as manufacturers increasingly turn their focus to EVs. Three key reasons for domestic growth are: uncertainty in the supply chain, tariffs to be imposed from 2023 as a result of Brexit, and the environmental cost of importing batteries from Asia.
With 25 Gigafactories expected in Europe by 2025, the UK is finally playing catch-up. The planning application comes after the recent announcement that Britain’s first Gigafactory in Northumberland was granted planning permission earlier this month and the plans by Nissan to build an EV hub, including a Gigafactory, in Sunderland.
Although promising, it is expected that the West Midlands Gigafactory will not be operational until 2025 with the Northumberland site slightly ahead with a target start date of 2023 (although it will not reach full capacity until 2026). This could prove problematic, as the UK is currently tracking to be far from self-sufficiency by the time hefty Brexit tariffs come into place. It is also estimated that the UK will need at least seven Gigafactories to stay competitive. We are definitely seeing some momentum in this area, but the sector will need to continue a steady flow of investment into domestic battery production to keep up with the expected demand as we head towards the 2030 ban on ICE vehicles.
"Mission critical" plans have been submitted for an electric car battery plant that could create up to 6,000 new jobs.