UK EYES STAKE IN BATTERY ECONOMY
There’s concern that even if the UK keeps producing vehicles in the post-ice age, it won’t have a big enough stake in the making of the battery cells that will power them. The SMMT says we need 60GWH of battery production by 2030, enough to produce one million EVS per year, and has accused the government of dragging its heels to help secure it.
“If ambitious words were currency, the UK would indeed be rich,” SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said at the lobby group’s annual conference in June. The following month, however, came the first real investment.
Britain’s EV battery startup company has ambitious plans to build a £2.6 billion gigafactory in Blyth, in the north-east of England, with a plan to produce 30GWH of cells by 2027. The company has yet to announce who its customers might be or any details of its battery cell pack chemistry.
This Chinese firm already builds batteries for Nissan’s Leaf at Sunderland, but in July it announced a much bigger 7.5GWH plant due before 2025 with a possible expansion to 35GWH – more than half the UK’S expected battery cell needs – by 2030, if the customers are there. Envision CEO Lei Zhang told Autocar that it’s already in talks to supply Jaguar Land Rover.
More tentative is a plan from Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council to build a battery plant on the site of Coventry airport, close to customers such as JLR, Aston Martin and Mini. Planning application was submitted last month for a 5.7-million-square-feet site with potential for 6000 jobs.