In another important report being considered by the City Council’s Cabinet on Monday 23rd February, plans are being put forward for a “Gigafactory” for the construction of electric vehicle batteries at Coventry Airport.
The City Council is planning to form a joint venture company with the leaseholders of the airport, Coventry Airports Ltd, to develop proposals for the Gigafactory which could create 4000 jobs.
If the plans come to fruition, the airport, which is outside the city boundary in Warwickshire, would close. The project is seen as a regional initiative and the West Midlands Combined Authority has endorsed the site as being the chosen location in the West Midlands.
The UK Government is actively pursuing investment in a Gigafactory and has made up to £500m funding available, which the West Midlands will be bidding for in due course.
The Joint Venture partners will develop proposals and submit an outline planning application for a Gigafactory in 2021. This will take place alongside regional discussions with battery suppliers and automotive manufacturers to secure the long-term investment needed. If the plans go ahead the factory could become operational in 2025.
The West Midlands is already the heart of the UK automotive sector, and home to several automotive manufacturers, including Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin Lagonda, BMW, LEVC and others.
Coventry has already demonstrated its credentials as the home of the electrified automotive industry by winning a national competition to establish the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre on a site adjacent to Coventry Airport. The £130m facility has gone from a concept to a purpose-built world-class R&D facility in barely three years and will cement the city’s place at the forefront of the move to electric vehicles.
The decision on the location of a Gigafactory will ultimately be a commercial one made by a battery supplier. Their decisions will be based on a range of factors such as land value, power supplier, confirmed orders from customers and proximity to those customers, skills and transport links. The business case demonstrates how the Coventry Airport site can meet all these needs and is an excellent candidate for an investor and should receive the full backing of Government.
Securing a Gigafactory in the West Midlands has been identified as vital for the continued success of the automotive industry, creating thousands of green jobs, attracting up to £2bn of investment, and supporting the drive for Net Zero.
There is more about the Gigafactory on this website.