Britishvolt Selects First Battery Gigaplant Location in UK
A new British-based investor in battery technologies has announced plans to build a super-sized manufacturing facility to support the UK automotive industry’s transition to greener forms of transport. has selected Blyth in Northumberland as the site of its first battery gigaplant, claiming it is a £2.6bn total investment. This would mean it would become one of the UK’s largest-ever industrial investments and the largest in the North East of England since the arrival of in 1984.
The company states the gigaplant could provide 3,000 highly skilled jobs and up to 5,000 more in the wider supply chain. Britishvolt claims to be the UK’s foremost investor in battery technologies and intends to begin construction of the gigaplant in summer 2021. The company further states that lithium-ion batteries will be in production by the end of 2023.
- Britishvolt intends to create 3,000 jobs and up to 5,000 more in the wider supply chain
- The final phase of the project is envisaged to conclude in 2027
- Questions remain as to whether the project can obtain the required funding
The final phase of the project is expected to conclude in 2027, and current predictions suggest that the Northumberland plant will produce over 300,000 lithium-ion batteries, but funding is yet to be secured for the future phases of the project. Britishvolt’s gigaplant could be strategically important for the UK automotive industry in order for it to maintain competitive advantage as the world accelerates towards an increasingly electrified future. The building of a battery gigaplant is also one of the key pillars of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s, ten-point plan for the UK’s green revolution in the country’s journey to a net-zero economy by 2050.Britishvolt CEO, Orral Nadjari, said: “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, has easily accessible renewable energy and the opportunity for a co-located supply chain, meets our target to make our gigaplant the world’s cleanest and greenest battery facility.”
Blyth Valley MP, Ian Levy, said: “This is an incredibly exciting announcement that will have a massive impact in the constituency and the surrounding area for decades to come. I can’t think of anything comparable in the North East since Nissan invested in Sunderland more than 35 years ago.“Since Britishvolt first made contact, it has been my absolute priority to work in partnership with its leadership team to do everything possible to bring this scheme to Northumberland. Advance Northumberland has also played a critical role in reaching this point so quickly.“There is still much to do but the prospect of the UK’s first gigaplant on the old Blyth Power Station site directly creating up to 8,000 jobs is amazing. These jobs will not only return the area to the status of an industrial powerhouse but will help us retain our graduates and provide a huge boost to struggling high streets. I look forward to working with all involved and will provide the backing necessary to deliver a scheme that is a once in a generation opportunity.”The Britishvolt gigaplant will be built on a 95-hectare site, formerly the site of the Blyth Power Station. It will use renewable energy, including 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 project in Denmark.
Timeline: Tesla's Construction of Gigafactories
Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy
Founded in 2003, Tesla was established by a group of engineers with a drive to "prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars." Almost 20 years on, Tesla today is not only manufacturing all electric vehicles, but scaleable clean energy generation and storage too.
"Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better," says Tesla. "Electric cars, batteries, and renewable energy generation and storage already exist independently, but when combined, they become even more powerful – that’s the future we want. "
In order to deliver on its promise of "accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products," Tesla's Gigafactory journey began in 2014 to meet its produciton goals of 500,000 cars per year (a figure which would require the entire worlds supply of lithium-ion batteries at the time).
By ramping up its production and bringing it in-house, the cost of Tesla 's battery cells declined "through economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimisation of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof." With this reduction in battery cost, "Tesla can make products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy."
2014: Giga Nevada and Giga New York begin construction
Born out of necessity to meet its own supply demand for sustainable energy, Tesla began the construction of its first Gigafactory in June 2014, in Reno, Nevada, followed by its Buffalo, New York facility the same year. "By bringing cell production in-house, Tesla manufactures batteries at the volumes required to meet production goals, while creating thousands of jobs," said Tesla.
2016: Reno, Nevada grand opening
Tesla’s construction of Giga Nevada came to an end in 2016, the first of its Gigafactories to complete its construction project. The factory’s grand opening took place in July 2016, and by mid-2018 reached an annual battery production rate of 20 GWh, which made it the highest-volume battery plant in the world that year.
2017: Giga New York begins production
Two years after Tesla’s second Gigafactory began construction, Giga New York was complete, and started its production operations in 2017.
2019: Giga Shanghai construction to production in record time
In 2019, Tesla selected Shanghai as its third Gigafactory location. The company constructed the factory in record time, taking just 168 working days from gaining permits to finishing the plant's construction.
2019: Giga Berlin begins construction
Announced in November 2019, Tesla began the construction of its first European Gigafactory in Berlin. The Gigafactory is still under construction.
2020: Giga Texas begins construction
The following year in August 2020, Tesla began the construction of its Giga Texas factory. The company’s third Gigafactory in the US is still under construction.
2021: Giga Texas and Giga Berlin expected completion of construction
Looking to the future, Tesla expects to complete the construction of its Giga Texas and Giga Berlin factories in May 2021 and July 2021 respectively.