Home Startups Indian group Tata to build $5 billion electric vehicle battery gigafactory in UK | Automotive industry news

Indian group Tata to build $5 billion electric vehicle battery gigafactory in UK | Automotive industry news

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The company and the British government say Tata will build its first gigafactory outside India and employ up to 4,000 people.

India’s Tata Group will build an electric vehicle (EV) battery factory in the UK to supply its Jaguar Land Rover plants, providing a major boost to an automotive industry that needs domestic battery production to secure its future.

Under the plan, announced Wednesday by the British government and Tata, the company will build its first gigafactory outside India, in Britain, with an investment of 4 billion pounds (5.2 billion dollars), creating up to 4,000 jobs and producing an initial output of 40 gigawatt hours (GWh).

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government refused to specify the amount of financial support it had promised to secure the investment and fend off Spain, which had also lobbied to win the project.

The BBC said the government would provide grants worth hundreds of millions of pounds to Tata.

Britain is lagging behind its European rivals in building electric vehicle battery gigafactories, with more than 30 factories planned or under construction across the European Union. Britain currently has a small Nissan factory and another under construction.

“The Tata Group’s multi-billion pound investment in a new battery factory in the UK is testament to the strength of our automotive industry and its skilled workers,” Sunak said in the statement.

The new factory is expected to be built in Somerset, southwest England, while Jaguar Land Rover’s UK factories are based near Birmingham, central England.

A member of staff checks the paintwork of Range Rover bodies as they pass through the paint shop at the Jaguar Land Rover factory in Solihull, England (File: Phil Noble/Reuters)

Production at the factory, which is expected to supply JLR’s future battery-electric models including the Range Rover, Defender, Discovery and Jaguar brands, is expected to start in 2026, the government said.

Domestic production is vital for automakers that rely on heavy batteries built near their auto plants.

With initial production of 40 GWh, Britain said the plant would provide almost half of the battery production needed by 2030. The Faraday Institution predicts UK battery demand will reach more than 100 GWh per year between now and then.

“With this strategic investment, the Tata Group further strengthens its commitment to the UK,” Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran said in the statement.

Workers install an electric motor into a Tata Nexon electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) at the Tata Motors plant in Pune, India (File: Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters)

‘Critical moment’

Mike Hawes, director of UK automotive industry group SMMT, said the investment was a boost for the UK.

“This comes at a critical time, as the global industry moves rapidly towards electrification, battery production in the UK is essential if we are to anchor wider vehicle production here in the long term,” he said. -he declares.

Andy Palmer, former CEO of Aston Martin and current chairman of electric vehicle battery maker InoBat, told BBC Radio that government subsidies were needed to keep Britain competitive.

“Almost every auto-producing country in the world offers numerous incentives to ensure that they maintain the integrity of their auto industry,” he said.

The Jaguar Land Rover logo is seen at a dealership in Milton Keynes, Britain (File: Andrew Boyers/Reuters)

Britain has expressed concerns over the US Inflation Reduction Act, which promises hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies for green industries.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who previously said Britain did not have large sums of money for similar grants, said he would not discuss commercially sensitive topics but acknowledged the need for Great -Brittany to attract major projects.

“We are competing with countries around the world for these big investments,” he told TV stations.

As Europe as a whole struggles to invest in the battery sector due to strong competition from China, the resounding failure of start-up Britishvolt in January highlighted the challenges of establishing a local industry in Britain, where there is a shortage of suitable sites for such factories. .

Local battery production will also help carmakers comply with post-Brexit trade rules that will force them to source more electric vehicle components locally to avoid tariffs on trade between the U.K. and the EU from 2024.

Britain has also set net zero emissions targets, including a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.

Environmental body Greenpeace hailed the announcement as an “important moment for the UK car industry and a signal that the government has finally revved the engine in the international clean-tech race, while others accelerate”.

Paul Morozzo, head of Greenpeace’s climate campaign, however, warned that the UK government must maintain its plan to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles.

“Failure to do so would mean saying goodbye to any significant electric vehicle manufacturing sector in the UK, regardless of this new gigafactory, which would put domestic car manufacturing as a whole at risk,” he said. declared.

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