Britishvolt plans to invest $3.15 billion (2.6 billion euros) to build UK’s first electric car battery. The UK startup has acquired exclusive rights to a site in Blyth Northumberland and intends to begin construction in Summer 2021.
The gigafactory is expected to begin producing lithium-ion batteries by the end of 2023.
According to Britishvolt, the project is the largest industrial investment in the North East since Nissan’s arrival in 1984. By the final phase of the project in 2027, Britishvolt will be employing up to 3000 highly skilled people, and will further provide up to 5,000 jobs as it expands its supply chain.
Powered by renewable energy, the gigaplant will produce over 300,000 lithium-ion batteries for the UK automotive industry. It’s an ambitious goal for a startup going up against bigwigs such as Sweden’s Northvolt, Japan’s Panasonic and Korea’s LG Chem.
UK’s First Gigafactory
Europe’s electric vehicles (EV) sector has gained momentum in recent months as the nation adopts an increasingly electrified future. The building of Britishvolt’s gigafactory is also one of the key pillars of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s push for UK’s green recovery and a step closer to a Net Zero economy by 2050.
The UK government is hard to work to attract investment into gigafactories in the UK. The bigger the investments the closer it will be towards making the domestic automotive market shift away from petrol and diesel in the coming years.
Automakers are worried that with the absence of battery plants it will become even more difficult to continue producing electric vehicles in the UK due to the cost of importing heavy battery units.
Britishvolt CEO, Orral Nadjari said: “We are delighted to have secured this site in Blyth. This is a tremendous moment both for Britishvolt and UK industry. Now we can really start the hard work and begin producing lithium-ion batteries for future electrified vehicles in just three years.
“It is crucial for the UK automotive industry and for the entire economy that we are able to power the future. The sooner we start, the better.”
The gigafactory will be constructed on a 95hasite, which was formerly the site of the Blyth Power Station.
The lithium-ion battery facility is expected to use hydroelectric power generated in Norway. The hydroelectric power is expected to be delivered 447 miles under the North Sea via the world’s longest inter-connector from the North Sea Link project.
Britishvolt was founded in December 2019 and is backed by Scandinavian and Middle Eastern investors. The battery startup considered sites in the Midlands before settling for Blyth which was once Europe’s largest coal exporting port.
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