Energy

UK regional competitions for electric car batteries’ gigafactory

The first UK’s gigafactory competition is on the go. Among the three regions competing are the norths east of England, South Wales, and the West Midlands, and the government has shown commitment to support the technology. The UK government will issue a transformation fund of £1 billion, but there are no comprehensive details of what the money will do. 

Gigafactories will play a vital role in ensuring that the country moves to a fossil-fuel-free world. However, the industry feels that the government is not much committed, even though it is expected to ban petrol and diesel engine vehicles by 2030. This week, the prime minister, Johnson Boris, will talk to the green industry’s automotive sector. On 25 November, the announcement of the gigafactory could be part of the spending review by Chancellor Sunak Rishi. 

Two potential investors are having serious discussions about the gigafactory. Some sources said that the most viable option is to have a joint venture that will include British and European Companies. Proposals for the gigafactory have been received from various companies. However, some trusted sources have said that private investors are unwilling to commit themselves until government support is confirmed. 

There is intense regulatory pressure for UK’s carmakers like BMW, Nissan, and Jaguar Land Rover to swap all diesel and petrol combustion engines for electric vehicles with zero-emissions. However, the industry is not so much comfortable with the move. They feel that the UK’s automotive employment will shrink due to over-reliance on battery cell manufacturers from Japan, South Korea, and China. 

According to the business department spokeswoman, the government is devoted to ensuring it secures gigafactories investment in the UK. She added that the industry requires a superior and robust battery supply chain if the intention to manufacture electric vehicles in the UK has to be achieved. The director of automotive transformation at APC (Advanced Propulsion Centre), Hetherington Julian, said that he is very hopeful about securing the gigafactory investment very soon due to the expected demand. Many carmakers expect to shift to EVs. 

The APC had said there before that 60 gigawatt-hours battery is what the UK industry needs in a year. Therefore, this implies that the UK needs four gigafactories, with each capable of producing 15 GWh per year. So far, it’s only Britishvolt Company that has publicly said it will construct a new battery manufacturing in Britain. It has received some finds from the Welsh government, and its site is located in South Wales.  

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