Coventry City Council has announced plans for a new gigafactory for the production of electric car batteries, with the city’s airport cited as a potential location.
A joint venture between the council and Coventry Airport, the public-private partnership is expected to create 4,000 green jobs, support the automotive sector and boost the attractiveness of the West Midlands as a recipient for investment.
The venture partners will develop proposals before submitting an outline planning application for a gigafactory in 2021.
Meanwhile, battery suppliers and automotive manufacturers will engage in regional discussions in attempts to secure the necessary long-term investment of £2bn.
Referring to Coventry as a “world leader in battery technology”, George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council, said: “The city is home to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, world-leading research institutions, and the UK’s largest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover. It’s clear to me that Coventry is the right location.”
The announcement coincides with the release of Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) Reimagine Strategy, which saw the West Midland’s based manufacturer commit to an all-electric range by 2030.
Beyond JLR, the West Midlands is also home to several other key automotive players, such as BMW, LEVC and Aston Martin Lagonda.
Duggins continued: “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 into 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.”
Coventry Airport has received full endorsement from the West Midlands Combined Authority has as the preferred site for a gigafactory. The site could accommodate up to 4.5m square feet of commercial space, making use of the large areas of hard standing and existing development.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, added: “By announcing the site now and driving forward with a planning application and a joint venture, we are showing how united and serious the region is about making this happen.
The venture is expected to be approved by the council’s cabinet on 23 February. A planning application will be submitted in 2021 and, subject to successful discussions with relevant manufacturers and suppliers, the gigafactory could be operational by 2025.