Jaguar Land Rover-owner to build £4bn battery factory in Britain
Image credit: Gorodenkoff / shutterstock.
Tata Group expects the gigafactory to create 4,000 jobs and produce an initial output of 40 gigawatt hours a year.
The Indian conglomerate has confirmed its plans to invest £4bn in the gigafactory, which has been described as “the most important investment in the UK automotive sector since Nissa’s arrival in the 1980s. The project will also receive an unnamed amount of public funding.
The EV battery factory will supply electric car models for the Range Rover, Defender, Discovery and Jaguar brands, among other Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) cars.
The plant is set to open in 2026, the government has revealed. Once in operation, the site is expected to produce an initial output of 40 gigawatt hours a year, making it one of Europe’s largest battery cell manufacturing sites.
The government - which has been holding secret talks with Tata to secure the factory - has welcomed the announcement, stressing its importance for the UK car industry’s transition to net zero.
"Tata Group's multi-billion-pound investment in a new battery factory in the UK is testament to the strength of our car manufacturing industry and its skilled workers," Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.
“It will not only create thousands of skilled jobs for Britons around the country, but it will also strengthen our lead in the global transition to electric vehicles, helping to grow our economy in clean industries of the future.”
The contract is the result of long negotiations between government officials and Tata representatives, which at one point considered locating the gigafactory in Spain.
“We have fought very hard for it,” Grant Shapps, energy security secretary, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “It is certainly the biggest UK car investment for 40 years. It is a big vote of confidence in the British economy that puts the UK in the fast lane for electric vehicle production.”
Shapps declined to give a figure regarding the amount of public funding that will be provided for the project, but said the figure is “large”. He also stressed the site could produce enough batteries not just for JLR but to supply “half the EVs we will need by the 2030”.
Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chair of Tata Sons, added: “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.
“With this strategic investment, the Tata Group further strengthens its commitment to the UK, alongside our many companies operating here across technology, consumer, hospitality, steel, chemicals and automotive.”
Liberal Democrat treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said: "This is a welcome move by Jaguar Land Rover after years of the south west being neglected by Government investment."
Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said his party would ensure "announcements like this aren't a one off but the basis for a growing economy with good jobs in our industrial heartlands".
Darren Jones, chairman of the Business and Trade Committee said the news is "very welcome" but raised questions over the scale of the subsidies provided.
"We will want to reflect, however, on the subsidy package that was required to secure this decision and if this approach is scalable to meet the need for further battery manufacturing sites for other car companies across the UK," he stressed.
The gigafactory project is expected to help the UK compete with its European neighbours in the field of EV manufacturing. While the Tata plant will only be the second factory of its type built on British soil, the European Union has 35 plants open, under construction or in the planning stages.
The gigafactory is Tata’s first EV plant outside of India, but the company has already eyed other projects in the country, including the Port Talbot plant in South Wales.
The UK currently has one small Nissan plant in operation, and a second one in the planning stages.
Edited on July 20th 2023 to clarify that the location of the factory is yet to be confirmed.
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