Coventry Airport could be the site for a new ‘gigafactory’ for the production of batteries for electric vehicles, after Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport formed a joint venture to develop proposals for the scheme.
The joint venture will submit an outline planning application for a factory later this year, which will take place alongside regional discussions with battery suppliers and automotive manufacturers to help secure long-term investment. If discussions are successful, a plant could be operational by 2025.
The government has made up to £500m available for the development of gigafactories, and the West Midlands is already the home to several automotive manufacturers, including Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin Lagonda, BMW, LEVC and others.
George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council, said: “Coventry has emerged as a world leader in battery technology. The city is home to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, world-leading research institutions, and the UK’s largest car maker Jaguar Land Rover 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. It will immediately plug in to a mature automotive supply chain and skills eco-system. The green industrial revolution is coming, and I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Coventry is right at the heart of it. We have the site, the skills and the pedigree to make this work.”
Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I have been utterly obsessed with securing a gigafactory for the West Midlands due to the huge economic and job benefits it would bring, and so I am delighted we have announced our preferred site and taken a huge leap forward today.
“The point I have been ferociously lobbying to government is that the West Midlands is the natural place for a UK gigafactory as we are 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.
“By announcing the site now and driving forward with a planning application and a joint venture, we are showing how united and serious the region is about making this happen."