The Coventry-based Battery manufacturer, Britishvolt, has narrowed down its selection of sites for the UK’s first 30 plus GWh gigafactory from 42 locations to just two, with Bro Tathan in South Wales leading the way.
The battery industry is forecast to be worth £5 billion domestically by 2025, and the demand for lithium ion cells across a number of industries, including vehicle electrification, is already increasing dramatically, but risks becoming constrained as the UK Government strives to meet its Road to Zero targets by 2050.
Not only is Britishvolt, which is based at Westwood Business Park in Coventry, filling this gap in the market, but is also moving to leverage the UK’s world-leading lithium ion battery research development and academic community to ensure the country retains a commercial and technical lead. The initial wave of £1.2 billion of investment into the site will eventually lead to around 3,500 jobs.
The firm is also announcing plans to build a solar park alongside the factory, to support sustainable production of batteries and meet low carbon objectives.
Lars Carlstrom, CEO at Britishvolt, said: “We aim to deliver a scalable, onshore production and diverse portfolio of world-class lithium ion batteries, to support the unprecedented transition to electrification – primarily servicing the automotive and energy storage markets.
“After six months of careful analysis, Bro Tathan is the preferred choice due to number of different factors. The Welsh Government has welcomed us with open arms and impeccable due diligence, and the region meets crucial criteria including import/export accessibility, availability of labour and skilled staff, along with convenient geographical proximity to customers and local industrial companies.”
Bro Tathan business park provides approximately 1.6 million sq ft of employment space and is currently home to major occupiers including Aston Martin Lagonda, eCube Solutions and Bristow Helicopters.
“The sheer scale of this project means our gigafactory will have one of the top three largest single footprints in Europe. The plant will be one km long and 30 metres tall, needing 80 plus hectares of land, and the energy intensive nature of producing lithium ion cells means nearby renewable sources are of huge importance.
“Our ambition is to become one of the greenest battery producers worldwide, which will be facilitated through the creation of our very own solar park, ensuring a near carbon neutral electricity input.
Lars added: “Our high efficiency gigaplant will employ at least 3,500 local Welsh people. These will be across a wide range of disciplines and will create a local ecosystem of 10,000 to 15,000 further jobs for the wider supply chain – including material suppliers, contractors and local services. By the third quarter of 2023, we plan for the first stage of our plant to be fully functional, and envision that between 40 and 60 per cent of the initial £1.2 billion of investment will be injected directly into the chosen community, representing a real catalyst for growth in the local economy and the UK.”