TATA Tata Group, the Indian owner of Jaguar Land Rover, has announced plans to build a £4bn battery factory in Somerset, a major boost to the UK’s car industry which is largely playing catch-up regarding electric vehicles.
The gigafactory, near Bridgwater, is expected to create some 9,000 jobs both directly and in the supply industry. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the development would accelerate the transition of Britain’s car industry from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles.
He added: “It will also strengthen our lead in the global transition to electric vehicles, helping to grow our economy in clean industries of the future.”
Tata Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran said in a statement: “Our multibillion-pound investment will bring state of the art technology to the country, helping to power the automotive sector’s transition to electric mobility, anchored by our own business, JLR.”
Ben Nelmes, Chief Executive of New AutoMotive, the independent transport research organisation, said: “This is a welcome vote of confidence in the UK’s plans to transition to electric vehicles. Ambitious climate policies such as ministers’ plans for a zero emission vehicle mandate should make the UK a more inviting investment opportunity and help to further reduce the cost of electric cars and vans for motorists and businesses. The government should build on this success and bring forward a strategy for battery manufacturing so that Britain can benefit from new green technologies.”
Suzanna Hinson, Battery Workstreams Lead, Green Finance Institute, said: “While this investment is certainly an important foundation for building a thriving battery industry in the UK, further finance must be crowded in to enable the many innovative businesses that will support this ecosystem to scale.”
“Public capital can catalyse private investment into the space and does not need to exclusively be given in the form of grants, as there is huge potential for blended finance in this sector. The Green Finance Institute is working to develop blended finance structures such as a Battery Investment Facility to target the gap many businesses in this sector face in accessing mainstream funding once they exit the grant landscape to build out their operations.”
“The UK Government must adopt a holistic and sustainable critical mineral strategy to enable its net zero commitments. There is an opportunity to achieve this through reactivation of production scrap and end-of-life batteries within the UK’s borders. The Battery Recycling Company remains committed to providing recycled critical minerals to the battery industry, enabling a truly closed-loop system.”