England & Wales Climate action and sustainable development, Economy and regeneration, Transport and infrastructure

In Coventry, the future is electric

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Photo by Oscar Mucyo on Unsplash

Anyone visiting the Coventry Transport Museum will know our city has a long heritage as a home to the automotive industry. We led the way in developing the combustion engine. The Daimler Motor Company built The Motor Mills in Coventry, which gave birth to the first British car. The new TX5 electric black cabs are being manufactured in the city. And at the JLR Headquarters in Whitley, powertrain engineering is developing low emissions technologies for Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.

Today, we are building on this legacy by drawing on the innovative flair, determination and ingenuity of our people to continue the march towards environmentally sustainable travel. Our plans to support our net zero ambitions, create skilled jobs, and drive economic growth in Coventry have taken a giant leap forward this week.

The West Midlands Gigafactory is within our reach, as planning committees at Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council approved outline plans. As we rapidly move towards an increasingly electrified future, gigafactories have been identified as critical to our automotive and domestic energy sectors. The West Midlands Gigafactory is imperative for the UK’s electrified future and will ensure Coventry remains at the heart of the transition to a cleaner and greener automotive industry.

Based at Coventry Airport, the Gigafactory will be adjacent to the pioneering UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, the state-of-the-art national battery manufacturing development facility. The Advanced Propulsion Centre, headquartered at the University of Warwick, in Coventry, is managing the investment fund to research, develop and commercialise the transport technologies of the future. Our city’s academic centres of excellence – University of Warwick and Coventry University – have been central to the race to rejuvenate motor manufacturing, from the Centre for Cleaner Mobility at Coventry University to the inventive work of WMG at the University of Warwick.

This ecosystem we have built puts us in a prime position to secure the UK’s largest Gigafactory – which could be open as early as 2025 if things continue to advance at pace and to plan.

The West Midlands Gigafactory will inject a £2.5bn investment into the region, making it one of the largest new industrial facilities of any kind in the UK. As the automotive skills capital of the UK, we can offer unrivalled access to current and future talent, directly creating 6,000 well-paid, highly-skilled jobs and thousands more in the wider supply chain.

Covering more than 530,000sqm of space, the Gigafactory will be amongst the largest single industry facilities of any kind in the UK. It will be powered by a 100% renewable electricity supply, from a combination of solar power and grid-supplied renewables.

Our ambitions for the Gigafactory are essential to Coventry, Warwickshire, the wider West Midlands region, as well as for the future of the automotive industry across the UK. That is why there is such excitement for this initiative, and why all our partners are so invested in its success.

This week’s milestone puts us at the head of the queue with potential investors from the global battery industry. Our focus now is to identify then work in collaboration with a global investor to ensure the discovery, innovation and ingenuity is rapidly realised at the West Midlands Gigafactory.

When the combustion engine was being developed in our city, our pioneers could never have imagined that 125 years later we would still be at the cutting edge of the automotive industry. As happened then, we are at the heart of a green industrial revolution that is meeting many of the grand challenges we face today: creating skilled employment, building economic growth, and decarbonising our economy.

Coventry has always been a visionary and ambitious city. We have set our sights on a brighter and environmentally sustainable future for Coventry by securing the UK’s largest Gigafactory. This week our vision and ambition has taken a step closer to becoming a reality, so we can once again seize the moment and see our city flourish for generations to come.

For more information, visit the website here. You can follow Coventry City Council on Twitter here and Cllr George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council here.

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