Ford and Samsung are considering building battery “gigafactories” in the UK as the government seeks to drive investment in the electric vehicle sector.
The FT reported that ministers were in talks with six firms in total, including Nissan and South Korean electronics firm LG, over the locations of the new facilities, which are seen as vital to shifting the UK’s cars from the internal combustion engine to electric power.
Start-up BritishVolt, which has already laid out plans to build such a facility in Blyth in Northumberland, and Slovakia’s InoBat round out the list of interested firms.
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said that the government was “dedicated to securing gigafactories, and continue to work closely with investors and vehicle manufacturers to progress plans to mass produce batteries in the UK”.
By 2040, it is estimated that the UK will need seven such facilities, which could employ up to 220,000 people.
The Faraday Institute, which issued the report, said that the country would need to produce 20 gigawatts worth of battery capacity a year by the end of the next decade.
At the moment, there is just one such battery factory in the UK, at Nissan’s existing plant in Sunderland. But last month the FT said the firm could open a new facility up at the site by 2024.
Alongside Britishvolt, which made its plans public last year, a joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport has proposed a West Midlands factory on the airport site.
The government has a treasure chest of £500m to invest in developing the factories, about a fifth of the budget that Eu has earmarked for such projects.
InoBat, LG and Samsung declined to comment on the report, but Ford, which is considering locations to build the batteries for its new Transit van, said:
“As we have previously stated, we will confirm the battery supplier for the Transit Custom closer to launch.”