£1m plan to kick start West Midlands Gigafactory scheme - Business Live

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The joint venture behind a planned £2.5 billion gigafactory in Coventry has announced it is injecting £1 million into the project in order to kickstart work and attract global investors.

Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport say the capital will allow them to minimise pre-construction delays by undertaking detailed design on highways infrastructure and other technical work so it can become operational as quickly as possible.

The money will also be used to market the proposed 5.38 million sq ft factory as an investment opportunity across the world, with a focus on potential backers in China, South Korea and the US.

The gigafactory, which would make new lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries and recycle used ones, was given planning consent in January by Coventry City Council and Warwick District Council which jointly own the development site at Coventry Airport.

If successful, it is estimated the factory could create 6,000 jobs and add £434 million to the West Midlands economy every year and it is hoped it could be operational by 2025.

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It would occupy the entirety of the airport site with all airport-related operations ceasing and the on-site businesses no longer able to trade from there.

No end user has been identified yet.

Last month, Britishvolt, which is building a new plant in the North East, announced it had agreed a deal with Prologis to open a new £200 million facility at its industrial park in Hams Hall to develop new cell formats.

And Jaguar Land Rover, which is headquartered in Coventry, has been linked with possible new factories in Teesside and last week in Somerset which many would see as a blow to the West Midlands project as it is hoped JLR will be one of its main customers.

Cllr Jim O'Boyle, cabinet Member for jobs, regeneration and climate change at Coventry City Council, said: "Since achieving planning consent for the West Midlands Gigafactory in record time, we know that we cannot stand still.

"The global market for battery manufacturing is accelerating at a rapid speed and, if our site is to remain internationally competitive, it is vital we remove barriers to investment and minimise potential delays to construction so battery manufacturing can start as quickly as possible.

"This fresh funding will allow us to undertake the work needed while also enabling the joint venture partners to take the opportunity to the global market and potential investors.

"A gigafactory is vital for Coventry and the UK automotive industry and decisions need to be made now, by government and industry, if the industry is to have a viable future in the electric age.

"Given the clear economic rationale underpinning the West Midlands Gigafactory, the additional investment we are proposing will deliver significant long-term benefits for Coventry, Warwickshire and the wider West Midlands."

The £1 million of funding would be provided equally by Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport, subject to approval by the council's cabinet at its meeting next Wednesday.

£1m plan to kick start West Midlands Gigafactory scheme - Business Live
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