The news comes as the West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy is launched to drive growth and create opportunities across the region – the first in the country
Minister for Business and Industry, Andrew Stevenson will today announce a new £28 million investment in the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, providing a stepping stone for its ambition for a Gigafactory in the UK – a large-scale battery technology factory for electric vehicles.
The investment, through the government’s modern Industrial Strategy’s Challenge Fund, comes on top of £80 million initial investment in the centre, which will provide world-leading testing facilities for new battery technologies. This investment will also provide practical training to upskill people in battery manufacturing.
The Business and Industry Minister will make the announcement on a tour of the UKBIC site to mark new funding alongside Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, as they also unveil the new Local Industrial Strategy for the West Midlands – the first in the country.
The Local Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term vision for the region to increase productivity – including how the West Midlands can harness the next developments in automotive technologies, such as electric vehicles and driverless cars.
Business and Industry Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “Putting the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles is at the heart of our plans – creating jobs, growth and opportunity across the country.
“Driven by the potential of fast-paced development of battery technology, this investment puts the UK – amongst a handful of countries around the world – on the next step to meet the challenge by the future of mobility.
“Our investment of £28 million in this new facility will support the UK’s world-leading automotive industry to compete internationally, attract further investment and establish supply chains for new electric vehicle battery design and development.”
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, added: “For Coventry to boast the UK’s Battery Industrialisation Centre is a major coup for the city and the wider West Midlands.
“This £108 million facility will give the city and the region a huge boost in the race to lead the world in the production of electric vehicles, which is an increasingly important market as we look to tackle air pollution and climate change.”
The Local Industrial Strategy launched today also highlights advanced manufacturing, medical research and the creative and digital industries as distinct strengths of the West Midlands. The strategy will build on these strengths and other opportunities so we have a strong and resilient economic future that can benefit all communities across the whole region.
Jeff Pratt, Managing Director of UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, said: “It is fantastic to see construction starting on UKBIC and we are looking forward to working with all our partners on this project which will have huge significance on the next generation of battery systems.”
Tony Harper, Faraday Battery Challenge Director at UK Research and Innovation, added: “This new world-class facility will allow the UK to rigorously prepare our home-grown battery technologies for global competitiveness. This additional investment will mean its ambitious facilities will be expanded and improved to meet the soaring demand of the electric vehicle global market.
Jonathan Browning, chair of the CWLEP, said: “This is an exciting step in creating the UKBIC which will have a vital role in helping the UK to become a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of batteries through collaborative research and development between industry and academia.
Coventry and Warwickshire is renowned for our innovation and expertise and this is an important milestone in establishing a new centre which will influence this sector throughout the world.”