Friday 17 July 2020 9:23 am

Britishvolt chooses Welsh site for UK's first battery 'gigafactory'

Battery firm Britishvolt has chosen a site in Wales for the development of the UK’s battery manufacturing “gigafactory”, it was announced today.

In a statement, the start-up said it had signed an MoU with the Welsh government to work on plans for the 30 gigawatt facility at Bro Tathan in south Wales.

Read more: BMW inks €2bn battery deal with Sweden’s Northvolt

The company said that the factory, which would have a 200 megawatt solar farm attached, could provide up to 3,500 jobs in the local area.

Construction is slated to begin in the second quarter of 2021, if Britishvolt can raise £1.2bn from investors.

In all, the project is estimated to cost £4bn, and will match market leader Tesla’s Nevada plant for production capacity.

With the global automotive industry now fast shifting towards electric cars, many have been calling for the UK to develop onshore capacity to build crucial components such as lithium ion batteries.

From 2035, sales of diesel, petrol and hybrid vehicles will be banned in the UK, the government announced in February.

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In May Britishvolt signed an MoU with Scottish battery firm Amte Power to develop the plant together.

It was reported that the firm was mulling a public listing for the first quarter of 2021. 

Britishvolt also said it would look to raise money for the project through the government’s Automotive Transformation Fund.

Chief executive Orral Nadjari said that without the capacity to produce batteries for electric cars in the UK, up to 114,000 UK automotive jobs could be lost by 2040.

Read more: Only five car battery tech patents filed from the UK in 2019, says BDO

He added: “As the birthplace of lithium ion, the UK remains globally renowned for its academic excellence in research and development – with an abundance of home grown talent for Britishvolt to take advantage of. 

“We believe this will not only be vital for the manufacturing and automotive industries, but for the future growth of the UK economy, as the demand for battery production escalates in years to come”.