The UK government is investing alongside investment firm abrdn and European logistics real estate manager Tritax to help UK battery company Britishvolt build a gigafactory.
The government, via the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF), has agreed to help fund the planned £3.8bn (€4.4bn) factory in Blyth, Northumberland.
Britishvolt said it has also agreed a long-term partnership with Tritax and abrdn that will deliver £1.7bn in private funding.
Tritax and abrdn will become Britishvolt’s partner “to fund the build of the project, shell and core, as well as to develop the associated supplier park”.
The development of the 93-hectare site is underway by Britishvolt’s construction partner ISG. Once completed, gigaplant is expected to build enough cells each year for over 300,000 electric vehicle (EV) battery packs, equivalent to 25% of current UK vehicle manufacture, Britishvolt said.
Peter Rolton, Britishvolt executive chairman, said: “The news is the first step in creating a commercialised battery ecosystem, that perfectly aligns with the existing R&D ecosystem.
“Britishvolt will be the anchor for attracting further sections of the supply chain, be it refining or recycling, to co-locate on the Britishvolt site. This not only shortens supply chains but also allows for partners to access the abundance of renewable energy on site to truly power low carbon, sustainable battery production.”
Rolton said the deal will also allow “us to catapult our unique tailormade business proposition on a global scale, with sites already selected for development in other countries”.
UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, said: “Britishvolt’s plan to build a new Gigafactory in Northumberland is a strong testament to the skilled workers of the North East and the UK’s place at the helm of the global green industrial revolution.
“Backed by government and private sector investment, this new battery factory will boost the production of electric vehicles in the UK, whilst levelling up opportunity and bringing thousands of new highly-skilled jobs to communities in our industrial heartlands.”
Kwasi Kwarteng, UK’s business secretary, said: “Britishvolt’s planned Gigafactory will not only enable the UK to fully capture the benefits of a booming electric vehicle market, but will bring thousands of highly-skilled, well-paid jobs to the North East.”
James Dunlop, CEO, Tritax Group, said the £3.8bn scheme will create a sustainable and green-powered ecosystem for UK battery and EV manufacturing.
“Blyth is mission critical infrastructure of national importance. The development will help realise the UK government’s commitment to deliver British made batteries for the automotive sector in a world-leading energy cluster in the Northeast.”
The UK minister for investment, Lord Grimstone, said: “Our support for Britishvolt’s gigafactory is not only set to bring new jobs to the people of Northumberland, but by unlocking huge amounts of additional investment, we are helping to turbocharge the local economy.
“All of which will not only transform Blyth, but also help us build the batteries that will power our electric vehicles for a cleaner, greener future.”
Julian Hetherington, automotive transformation director, at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, which manages ATF on behalf of the UK government, said: “This is a pivotal moment for the UK automotive sector as it demonstrates that the UK is a highly competitive landscape for investment in the full R&D and manufacturing ecosystem for these vital technologies.
“I’m delighted that this has been recognised by Britishvolt, with whom we have been working since late 2019, and who have had a transformative impact in awakening the battery supply chain sector to opportunities in the UK.”
The ATF funding programme aims to create a sustainable, zero-emission automotive supply chain in the UK.
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