Coventry gigafactory plans revealed

Plans to build an EV battery gigafactory have been unveiled by Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport.

The West Midlands Combined Authority – which represents the region’s seven urban councils and is led by the West Midlands mayor – has endorsed the airport as its preferred location for the development.

It’s claimed that the site could provide up to 4.5 million sq ft of commercial space and that battery production could attract £2 billion of investment to the area.

The UK government has set aside £500m to invest in a gigafactory, which the Coventry project will be bidding for “in due course”.

“I have been utterly obsessed with securing a gigafactory for the West Midlands, due to the huge economic and job benefits it would bring,” said West Midlands mayor Andy Street. “And so I’m delighted we’ve announced our preferred site and taken a huge leap forward today.

“The point I have been ferociously lobbying to [the] government is that the West Midlands is the natural place for a UK gigafactory, as we’re already home to the country’s biggest car manufacturer, Europe’s largest research centre, the UK’s only battery industrialisation centre and a world-leading supply chain.”

Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin Lagonda, the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) and BMW all have bases in the West Midlands, along with several others.

The government will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, and with car makers increasingly switching to EVs to reduce emissions, the need for a British battery plant is growing rapidly.

“Coventry has emerged as a world-leader in battery technology,” said Coventry City Council leader George Duggins. “The city is home to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre [and] world-leading research institutions, 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. Our joint-venture partnership is unique in the UK and creates a strong platform to attract investment and deliver more than 4000 new jobs, support our automotive sector and secure our competitive advantage.”

No timescale has been placed on the construction of the gigafactory, although project bosses say their plans will be developed and submitted this year. It’s hoped that the gigafactory will be operational by 2025.