Battery Gigafactory Planned For Coventry

A joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd have officially filed a planning application for a Gigafactory at Coventry Airport.

The factory proposals were first put forward in February, by Coventry City Council. The plan is set to be determined by Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council later in 2021.

Essentially, this gigafactory in the West Midlands would be to manufacture electric car batteries. It should be remembered that in the UK, the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030, albeit with some hybrid cars given a stay of execution until 2035.

Coventry gigafactory

News of the formal planning application for the new gigafactory was announced on Thursday, and an updated analysis of the economic benefits of a gigafactory to the West Midlands has also been submitted.

The proposals would deliver 5.7m sq ft of space for both battery production and recycling, would add £434m in GVA to the regional economy each year, as well as create 6,000 new jobs and tens of thousands more in the supply chain, Coventry City Council stated.

And the factory would be green as well, as it will be powered by 100 powered by renewable energy, using a combination of sources including solar and wind power, as well as grid supplied renewables.

The gigafactory will also be able to recycle used batteries as well as build new ones in an industry-leading approach known as ‘cradle to cradle’.

It should be remembered that the west midlands is a key car production part of the United Kingdom, with a third of all cars produced in the UK come from the region. Indeed, the region is home to Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin Lagonda, and BMW.

Coventry Airport meanwhile is adjacent to the UK’s largest battery research centre, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC).

The UK Government has made up to £500m funding available for a Gigafactory, which the West Midlands will be bidding for in due course.

Welcomed news

“The submission of a planning application for a Gigafactory is the important next step as we seek to deliver battery production for the West Midlands,” stated Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council. “We have worked with regional partners and industry experts at pace to deliver outline proposals for a world-leading facility, powered by green energy, and ready for investment.

“There is increasing pressure to ensure the UK is ready to take advantage of electrification and together the West Midlands is seizing the initiative to deliver for UK PLC as part of a Green Industrial Revolution,” said Duggins. “We are the ideal location for a Gigafactory as the home of the UK automotive sector, alongside world-leading research in battery technology.”

The gigafactory plan has also been welcomed by Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands.

“It is mission-critical that the West Midlands secures a Gigafactory, both for the future of our region’s automotive industry and the huge economic and job benefits it would bring, as well as the future of our planet,” said the Mayor.

“I am therefore delighted that after years of collaborative work, we have now been able to reach this milestone moment of formally submitting a planning application for our preferred site,” he said.

Tesla gigafactories

Tesla coined the term ‘gigafactory’, which are essentially large factories used to build electric cars.

Tesla currently has two gigafactories in the United States (with another one under construction in Texas); one gigafactory in China; and is constructing another gigafactory in Germany.

However construction of that German gigafactory has not been without its problems, and the plant is scheduled to open later this year.

In May a fire was alleged started deliberately at the building site, with far-left activists claiming responsibility.

Germany’s largest trade union meanwhile has been frustrated with Tesla’s lack of co-operation over organising a trade union at Tesla’s first European plant.

Tesla has also uncounted planning problems with local officials, with the latest issue being over the location of a number of storage tanks at the plant.

Tesla had been considering the UK or Germany to construct its Gigafactory, but in 2019 opted to build it in Germany, citing the uncertainty of Brexit for its reason.

Earlier this month Japanese carmaker Nissan delivered some welcome news for post Brexit Britain, with a new ‘gigafactory’ in the north east that will make electric vehicle batteries.

That plant in Sunderland will play host to the “Nissan EV36Zero, a £1 billion flagship Electric Vehicle (EV) Hub creating a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem.”

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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