UK’s first EV battery gigafactory to open in Northumberland

By Matt Allan
Monday, 14th December 2020, 12:35 pm
Updated Monday, 14th December 2020, 12:35 pm

The UK’s first gigafactory dedicated to the production of batteries for electric vehicles is to open in Northumberland within the next three years.

Britishvolt has confirmed it has selected a site near Blyth in England’s north-east for a £26 billion plant which when complete will build up to 300,000 lithium-ion batteries per year.

The factory will employ 3,000 people once fully operational and Britishvolt says it will help create a futher 5,000 jobs in the wider supply chain.

The firm says the move is “strageically important” to the UK’s ambition to be a world-leader in zero-emissions technology and to be carbon neutral by 2050. However, it is a blow to Wales, which had been the original planned site for the plant. The news follows Ineos Automotive’s decision to abandon plans to build its new Grenadier 4x4 at Bridgend.

Britishvolt says that by 2027, the plant will produce up to 300,000 batteries a year (Photo: Shutterstock)

The factory will occupy the former Blyth Power Station site and will start producing the vital batteries for EVs by the end of 2023. It will use renewable energy, and has the potential to use hydro-electric power generated in Norway and transmitted 447 miles under the North Sea via the world’s longest inter-connector from the North Sea Link project.

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Britishvolt CEO, Orral Nadjari “We are delighted to have secured this site in Blyth. This is a tremendous moment both for Britishvolt and UK industry. Now we can really start the hard work and begin producing lithium-ion batteries for future electrified vehicles in just three years. It is crucial for the UK automotive industry and for the entire economy that we are able to power the future. The sooner we start, the better.

“Blyth meets all of our exacting requirements and could be tailor made. It is on the doorstep of major transport links, easily accessible renewable energy and the opportunity for a co-located supply chain.”

The gigafactory will be located around 20 miles from Nissan’s Sunderland plant, where the Japanese firm currently builds the Leaf EV.