Britishvolt powers ahead with plans to build transformational UK battery Gigaplant to meet electric vehicle (EV) demand

Britishvolt is powering ahead with its plans for its first full-scale Gigaplant in Northumberland to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) on a large scale. The project will create over 3,000 direct high-skilled jobs and another 5,000 plus indirect roles in the wider UK supply chain to build enough cells each year for over 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs.

The project is receiving support from the Government through its Automotive Transformation Fund, delivered by the Advanced Propulsion Centre.

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Britishvolt, the UK’s foremost investor in battery cell technologies and associated research and development to develop homegrown intellectual property, have also announced that Tritax and abrdn are becoming its partner. They will  fund the build of the project, shell and core, as well as to develop the associated supplier park.

Tritax is the leading investor in the UK and European logistics real estate and is joining Britishvolt in partnership with abrdn’s global real assets and investment capabilities.

The Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) is a funding programme with the aim of creating a sustainable, zero emission automotive supply chain in the UK. The fund is an important mechanism to deliver the UK Government’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution and its recent Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

Over the next few weeks, Britishvolt will make a series of follow up announcements including customer memorandum of understanding (MoUs) and research and development (R&D) collaborations, relationships with blue chip UK automotive sports car brands and technology releases.

Peter Rolton, Britishvolt executive chairman, said: “This announcement is a major step in putting the UK at the forefront of the global energy transition, unlocking huge private sector investment that will develop the technology and skills required for Britain to play its part in the next industrial revolution. “

“The news is the first step in creating a commercialised battery ecosystem, that perfectly aligns with the existing R&D ecosystem. Britishvolt will be the anchor for attracting further sections of the supply chain, be it refining or recycling, to co-locate on the Britishvolt site.

“This not only shortens supply chains but also allows for partners to access the abundance of renewable energy on site to truly power low carbon, sustainable battery production.

“It will also allow us to catapult our unique tailormade business proposition on a global scale, with sites already selected for development in other countries.

“I’m especially proud that this is such a major boost for Northumberland – the county of my birth – bringing around 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs and another 5,000 plus indirect wider supply chain roles into the region.

“This is a truly historic day and marks the start of a truly exciting move towards a low carbon future – one with Britishvolt batteries at the very centre of that strategy.”

According to APC research, based on its unique relationships with vehicle manufacturers, by 2030 the UK will need over 90GWh per annum of batteries for cars and light commercials alone and represents over 11 percent of the total demand across Europe.

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, said: “Britishvolt’s plan to build a new Gigafactory in Northumberland is a strong testament to the skilled workers of the North East and the UK’s place at the helm of the global green industrial revolution.

“Backed by government and private sector investment, this new battery factory will boost the production of electric vehicles in the UK, whilst levelling up opportunity and bringing thousands of new highly-skilled jobs to communities in our industrial heartlands.”

Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary, said: “Today’s news is a major boost for Britain and a resounding vote of confidence in the North East economy.

“Britishvolt’s planned Gigafactory will not only enable the UK to fully capture the benefits of a booming electric vehicle market but will bring thousands of highly skilled, well-paid jobs to the North East.

“In this global race between countries to secure vital battery production, this Government is proud to make the investment necessary to ensure UK’s retains its place as one of the best locations in the world for auto manufacturing.”

The Gigaplant underscores the Government’s ambitions for the UK to be a world leader in the battery industry. This builds upon an already established unique and impressive ecosystem including WMG, University of Warwick, the Advanced Propulsion Centre, The Faraday Institute and UK Battery Industrialistion Centre.

James Dunlop, Tritax Group CEO, said: “Tritax and abrdn are delighted to have been chosen to partner with Britishvolt to fund and deliver this at Blyth. The £3.8 billion scheme will create a sustainable and green-powered ecosystem for UK battery and EV manufacturing.  

Blyth is a mission-critical infrastructure of national importance. The development will help realise the UK Government’s commitment to delivering British made batteries for the automotive sector in a world-leading energy cluster in the Northeast.

“We have a strong track record of identifying operators and projects at the epicentre of structural change and as such are proud to be working alongside Britishvolt, the UK Government and a world class professional team to unlock a greener future for UK plc”

The transformation and development of the 93-hectare site is underway by Britishvolt’s construction partner ISG. Advanced works are progressing to support the design process and the significant onsite infrastructure required to deliver a project of this scale and complexity.

Britishvolt is on target to responsibly manufacture some of the world’s most sustainable, low carbon battery cells on the site of the former Blyth Power Station in Cambois, Northumberland.

Advanced works started September 6, 2021, following a unanimous planning decision approval earlier in the year. The project will be built in phases, to keep up with technology advancements, and will have a total capacity of over 30GWh by the end of the decade.

At full capacity the Gigaplant will produce enough battery cells for over 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs per year, intended primarily for the automotive industry.

Britishvolt believes that locally produced, low carbon, sustainable, responsibly manufactured battery cells can literally help save the planet. The time has come to transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable, low carbon electricity.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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