West Midlands Gigafactory news welcomed
Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for economy and space has welcomed news of a £2.5bn investment to jumpstart the UK’s renewable energy future, creating thousands of jobs in the region.
Cllr Kam Kaur has spoken about plans unveiled by West Midlands Gigafactory, a public private joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd, to develop the UK’s largest battery Gigafactory as it continues to explore investment opportunities with battery manufacturers from around the globe.
The project is set to create up to 6,000 highly skilled jobs directly and thousands more in the wider supply chain in Coventry, Warwickshire and the surrounding region.
The Gigafactory, located in the epicentre of the UK’s automotive industry, will begin supplying high-tech batteries for electric vehicles from 2025.
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.
It will also be able to recycle used batteries as well as build new ones in an industry leading approach known as “cradle to cradle.”
The investment is an imperative for the UK’s electrified future, especially for the automotive industry which will stop producing petrol and diesel engines from 2030.
West Midlands Gigafactory has support from a unique alliance of West Midlands industrial groups, local government and academic institutions including 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.
Commenting on news of the investment, Cllr Kaur said: “This is wonderful news for the whole region as there will not only be many jobs at the Gigafactory but also the supply chain in the surrounding areas.
“Alongside creating a vibrant economy with employment opportunities for our residents, the County Council is committed to tackling carbon emissions and electric vehicles will play an integral role in how we reduce our carbon footprint.
“This project will make a very significant contribution to achieving both of those ambitions.”
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.
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.”
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 critical link between research at laboratory or prototype stages and the mass production of new battery technologies.
These links will be hugely important to the future development of the Gigafactory in the West Midlands.
Margot James, Executive Chair at WMG, University of Warwick comments "The West Midlands is already home to 28% of the UK's automotive sector talent, with an established skills ecosystem and supply chain.
“The proposed Gigafactory will bring a wealth of opportunities and high skilled jobs to the region. WMG is a centre of excellence for battery technology research and development alongside UKBIC, making the region a natural home for the proposed Gigafactory."