A PLANNING application has been submitted to build a massive electric car battery plant which is set to bring thousands of jobs to the area.
The proposals for the so-called gigafactory at Coventry Airport – which would create some 6,000 jobs and tens of thousands more in the supply chain – are now with planning officers at Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council.
Backers say the plant, which would be 5.7million sq ft in size, could attract £2billion of investment.
And the plant, details of which were first revealed in February, would be powered using 100 per cent green energy through solar, wind and grid supplied renewable power.
The city council and Warwick District Council will vote on the proposals later this year.
If plans are passed, the site could be operational by 2025, though it would need investment from the private sector.
The West Midlands offers one of the most competitive sites for a gigafactory – the name for a plant which specifically makes electric car batteries- in the UK.
A third of all cars produced in the UK come from the region which has unique access to existing supply chains. The region is home to Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin Lagonda, and BMW, while Coventry Airport is next to the UK’s largest battery research centre, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC).
In the last month, the UK Government has faced increasing pressure from the industry to back more gigafactories to keep up with European competitors.
In recent weeks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated in Parliament that a gigafactory in the West Midlands would contribute to ensuring the region ‘leads in building new electric vehicles for this country and for the world’.
The UK Government has made up to £500million funding available for gigafactories, which the West Midlands will be bidding for in due course.
Coventry City Council leader George Duggins said: “The submission of a planning application for a gigafactory is the important next step as we seek to deliver battery production for the West Midlands.
“We have worked with regional partners and industry experts at pace to deliver outline proposals for a world-leading facility, powered by green energy, and ready for investment.
“There is increasing pressure to ensure the UK is ready to take advantage of electrification and together the West Midlands is seizing the initiative to deliver for UK PLC as part of a Green Industrial Revolution.
“We are the ideal location for a gigafactory as the home of the UK automotive sector, alongside world-leading research in battery technology.”
Sarah Windrum, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), described the latest news as a ‘major step forward in attracting a West Midlands gigafactory to further cement the region’s worldwide reputation in the automotive and transport technology sector’.
“There has been great partnership working between all the parties involved and this would have a fundamental role to play in promoting Coventry and Warwickshire’s profile as a centre of excellence in this increasingly important industry while providing a huge boost to UK industry.”