Coventry City Council intends to secure pre-emptive planning permission for a “gigafactory” beside the city’s airport, in a move that would reportedly create 4,000 jobs.
A joint venture (JV) between the council and Regional City Airports will seek outline planning permission by the end of 2021 in the hope of attracting an experienced manufacturer to start production by 2025. The JV is set to be approved at a council cabinet meeting on 23 February.
The JV partners will develop proposals and submit an outline planning application for a gigafactory in 2021. This will take place alongside regional discussions with battery suppliers and automotive manufacturers to secure the long-term investment needed.
Automotive industry commentators believe that the West Midlands will require a battery plant to supply manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin Lagonda, BMW, LEVC and others, who all have production facilities in the region.
If the development takes place, it would be a huge boost for the automotive sector in the UK and West Midlands.
The UK government has identified investment in battery factories as a key goal to keep automotive jobs. The sector is moving away from the internal combustion engine. The government has set out a £500m funding pot as part of plans to support the electrification of vehicles, including developing gigafactories across the UK.
BritishVolt announced a project in December to build the first UK battery factory in Blyth, Northumberland. Construction is set to begin in the summer and is part of a £2.6bn investment. Read more here.
Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council, said: “Coventry has emerged as a world leader in battery technology. The city is home to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, world-leading research institutions, and the UK’s largest car maker Jaguar Land Rover and it’s clear to me that Coventry is the right location.
“Coventry Airport sits at the heart of this powerful automotive research cluster and is the obvious location for a UK Gigafactory. It will immediately plug in to a mature automotive supply chain and skills eco-system. The green industrial revolution is coming, and I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Coventry is right at the heart of it. We have the site, the skills and the pedigree to make this work.
“Our Joint Venture partnership is unique in the UK and creates a strong platform to attract investment and deliver more than 4,000 new jobs, support our automotive sector, and secure our competitive advantage.”