Currently reading: Northumberland site secured for UK's first EV battery gigafactory
Britishvolt selects North East for £2.6bn gigafactory, replacing original South Wales plan
News
2 mins read
11 December 2020

The UK will receive one of its largest-ever industrial investments when Britishvolt breaks ground on its new automotive battery gigafactory, set to be located in the North East. 

The facility will be located in Blyth, Northumberland, with construction commencing next summer and plans to produce "world-class" lithium-ion batteries by the end of 2023. 

Britishvolt claims the total investment in the gigafactory will be £2.6bn, making it the largest industrial investment in the North East since Nissan established its Sunderland car plant in 1984. Some 3000 jobs are promised, with 5000 jobs created across the wider supply chain.

The facility, which has been designed by Pininfarina Architecture, will have the capacity to produce over 300,000 batteries per year by 2027. Pininfarina claims the site will also feature "new public spaces for recreation, leisure and training" for local communities. 

However, the new location marks a reversal of plans first announced earlier this year. The gigafactory was originally meant to be located in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, with Britishvolt having entered a memorandum of understanding with the Welsh government. 

That plan, subject to Britishvolt being able to raise £1.2bn, has been reversed after "detailed feasibility studies", local reports suggest. Primarily, the issue was timing, as the site is deemed not compatible with the firm's late-2023 production start date. 

Britishvolt claims the gigafactory is "widely regarded as being strategically important for the UK automotive industry in order for it to maintain competitive advantage as we accelerate towards an increasingly electrified future". It's also regarded as vital to facilitating the UK government's plan to move towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

Discussing the 950,000sq m site, which once housed the old Blyth Power Station, Britishvolt CEO Orral Nadjari said: "Blyth meets all of our exacting requirements and could be tailor-made. It is on the doorstep of major transport links, easily accessible renewable energy and the opportunity for a co-located supply chain, and meets our target to make our gigaplant the world's cleanest and greenest battery facility.

"We have had an extremely warm welcome from Ian Levy MP and Northumberland County Council and are looking forward to working with them closely on this project."

Britishvolt even mentions the possibility of using hydroelectric power, transmitted nearly 450 miles under the North Sea from Norway, via the world's longest interconnector, part of the planned North Sea Link project. The high voltage direct current cable is planned to have a capacity of 1400 megawatts.

READ MORE

Analysis: why the UK needs a battery gigafactory - and fast

Tesla linked to new UK gigafactory in Somerset

What is the battery life of an electric car?

 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Join the debate

Comments
9
Add a comment…
adamc18 13 December 2020

The only logical reason for choosing the North East is Nissan.  They have said that they will pull out of the UK if Brexit messes up their just-in-time manufacturing.  The Jaguar i-Pace is made in Austria. Honda are leaving next year.  Toyota have said they won't consider making electric cars in the UK until the 2030s.  They might continue with Bentley, but will BMW keep Mini production in the UK?  And this massive project is a start-up funded by who exactly? 

Sorry, but the whole thing smells extremely politically motivated. 

Symanski 13 December 2020

BMW already produce Minis in The Netherlands. About 40% apparently come from there.

 

And BMW have already stated a willingness to move all production out of the UK if they have to. They really don't care where they build, just as long as its economical and hassle free.

 

 

Cobnapint 11 December 2020
What is a world class Li-ion battery? More importantly, where are the raw materials coming from? I guess being out of the EU won't make much difference to the price of those, but it's solid state batteries that will be the future. One would hope that this place will be able to swop to those once they've been perfected.
Symanski 11 December 2020

The company has absolutely no history at all, nothing pre Dec 31st 2019. Yet it is raising billions?

 

No history in manufacturing. No development history of battery technology, of any kind. Nine managers of various decriptions and absolutely no employees or facilities to mention!

 

Seems like a fairytail to me. In to get the government grants and deliver nothing.

 

I have my doubts.

Find an Autocar car review