UK battery gigafactory planned in Wales

UK battery gigafactory planned in Wales

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

A UK startup has signed an initial deal with the Welsh government to work on a battery gigafactory.

Britishvolt is looking at developing a 30 GWh battery manufacturing plant alongside a 200MW solar plant, at the former RAF base at Bro Tathan, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales.

The seven month old startup has ambitious plans to kickstart production of lithium ion cylindrical and pouch cells for electric vehicles in the UK. Such plants are all the rage across Europe to meet the expected demand for electric vehicles in the next ten years.Britishvolt has looked at 40 locations, and aims to create a cluster of power companies around the gigafactory. The company has relationships with the Government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre in Coventry and would use new lithium ion battery technology deceloped by AMTE Power in Scotland.

The deal is of course dependent on raising funding estimated at £1.2bn, both from the Welsh government to support skilled jobs, as well as UK government funding through the Automotive Transformation Fund. The venture will also need industrial support. Jaguar Land Rover, the UK’s largest indigenous car maker, sources its batteries from LG Chem in Poland and is in discussion with BYD about building a battery gigafactory in the UK. Other car makers such as Toyota and Nissan have their own specialist battery chemistry supply deals.

Construction of the battery gigafactory is scheduled to begin in early 2021 with production in 2023. Total costs are estimated to be £4bn.

“We are immensely proud to announce plans to work exclusively with the Welsh Government to develop the UK’s landmark battery gigaplant. Wales has welcomed us with open arms and exceptional due diligence and we believe the country has a vast untapped potential,” said Orral Nadjari, CEO and Founder at Britishvolt.

“Hiring local people, including those currently out of work, and developing strong relationships with nearby educational facilities will be a priority for us to ensure a stream of skilled staff,” he said, “Britishvolt will also encourage other businesses to invest in the region with the aim of creating a ‘hub’ of battery electrification – building out our very own infrastructure and supply chain ecosystem, which will create thousands more jobs.

“The construction of the solar farm will not only ensure our gigaplant has a near carbon neutral electricity input – complementing our goal of becoming one of the greenest battery producers worldwide – but also provide cleaner energy to the local area. The pandemic is acting as a catalyst, creating new markets for greener technologies, and highlighting the importance of localised supply chains – which Britishvolt has the backing and resources to drive forward.”

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