Wales To Become Home To The UK’s First ‘Gigafactory’?

The Welsh government announce proposed plans to build a new factory developing green lithium-ion batteries that will primarily supply EVs.

Battery tech company Britishvolt and the Welsh government have signed a memorandum of understanding, outlining plans to develop the UK’s first ‘gigafactory’ at a former RAF base in the Vale of Glamorgan. The preferred location will see the GigaPlant situated in approximately 80 hectares of the industrial park and has the potential to create up to 3,500 new jobs it is reported, with construction for the new factory scheduled to begin as early as 2021.

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The plant could be fully operational by the middle of 2023 and will be complimented by a solar farm, ensuring that the facility has a near carbon-neutral electricity input and will also provide the local area with cleaner energy. The location of the proposed factory would see it situated next to Aston Martin’s manufacturing plant where the first of its new sport utility vehicle the DBX recently rolled off the production line.

Plans for the £1.2bn project reveal that the 30GWh battery manufacturing plant will produce green lithium-ion cells that will primarily service the automotive market, similar to Tesla’s Nevada facility. The battery industry is expected to be worth £5billion to the UK by 2025 and the demand for lithium-ion cells across a number of industries, including vehicle electrification, is already in high demand. Britishvolt aims to fill this gap in the market, establishing the UK as the leading force in producing high performance green lithium-ion batteries.

CEO and Founder at Britishvolt, Orral Nadjari, supported the notion, commenting: “..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.” Nadjari also highlighted the importance of the project to the automotive industry, stating: “In the absence of any onshore battery production, 114,000 direct British automotive jobs are predicted to be lost by 2040, and we want to ensure that this doesn’t happen.”

A successful outcome of the partnership would not only create and expand the UK’s manufacturing ecosystem and supply chain but would support the government’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy in reducing the country’s emissions from conventional vehicles and encouraging the transition to electrification.

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