Australian mining firm Fortescue is significantly expanding its battery and electric powertrain production in the UK with a new factory to open next year.
The plant in Banbury, part of WAE (formerly Williams Advanced Engineering) in Oxfordshire, will make battery packs and power train for the off-road sector including mining trucks and trains. This follows the recent Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and will be part of a new global business.
The Banbury facility will operate alongside Fortescue’s other Oxfordshire facilities including the Kidlington factory which will open later this year. The first prototype build is targeted for July/August 2023 with the first mining haul truck module due for completion in August 2023.
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“With Fortescue’s investment, British engineering will be at the cutting edge of the green energy economy with WAE’s battery systems providing world leading technology to the entire global industrial sector,” said Andrew Forrest, chairman of Fortescue.
The factory will cover over 13,500m2 with automated assembly for battery modules and packs, assembly of power conversion and power systems, as well as truck and train production support. The site will employ over 120 highly skilled engineers, technicians, apprentices and graduates, with recruitment for the industrialisation programme starting now.