The West Midlands Combined Authority, which is led by the West Midlands Mayor and comprises the region’s seven urban councils, has formally endorsed Coventry Airport as the preferred site for a Gigafactory. The Airport site could accommodate up to 418,063 square metres (4.5 million square feet) of commercial space, making use of the large areas of hard standing and existing development.
Securing a Gigafactory in the West Midlands has been identified as vital for the continued success of the automotive industry. It could be crucial in creating thousands of green jobs, attracting up to £2 billion of investment and supporting the drive for net-zero. 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 public-private partnership represents a game-changing initiative in the UK’s pursuit of a Gigafactory, and further strengthens the West Midlands’ attraction for battery suppliers. 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 and LEVC.
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.
Councillor 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 carmaker 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 into 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.
“Our Joint Venture partnership is unique in the UK and creates a strong platform to attract investment and deliver more than 4,000 new jobs, support our automotive sector, and secure our competitive advantage.”