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Coventry seeks planning permission for electric car battery "gigafactory"

Sam Dickerson

16 Feb 2021

Factory could create "thousands of green jobs" and "attract up to £2bn" of investment to the region.

Coventry is attempting to secure pre-emptive planning permission for a "gigafactory" - a large-scale site to manufacture electric car batteries - in the latest push by the UK Government to attract investment.

The planned factory, to be based at a site at Coventry Airport, has been formally endorsed by West Midlands Combined Authority and, if the plans come to fruition, could be fully operational by as early as 2025.

The UK government has identified investment in battery factories as a key goal to create automotive jobs as the sector moves away from the combustion engine, with the Government's goal of banning the sale of conventional petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 only recently announced.

Coventry's proposed "gigafactory" plans come only a few days after West Midlands-based Jaguar Land Rover announced that its Jaguar brand will be all-electric by 2025, and Land Rover would soon follow, offering only purely electric vehicles by 2030, underlining the automotive sector's rapidly growing consumption of EV batteries and access to large-scale battery production.

The West Midlands region is also home to other major car manufacturers such as Aston Martin Lagonda, BMW, London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), MG and Morgan.

Cllr George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: "Coventry has emerged as a world leader in battery technology. The city is home to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, world-leading research institutions, and the UK’s largest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover and it’s clear to me that Coventry is the right location.

"Coventry Airport sits at the heart of this powerful automotive research cluster and is the obvious location for a UK Gigafactory. It will immediately plug into a mature automotive supply chain and skills eco-system. The green industrial revolution is coming, and I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Coventry is right at the heart of it. We have the site, the skills and the pedigree to make this work.

"Our Joint Venture partnership is unique in the UK and creates a strong platform to attract investment and deliver more than 4,000 new jobs, support our automotive sector, and secure our competitive advantage," he added.

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