UK-based battery startup BritishVault has said it will invest more than 200 million in a new facility in the West Midlands to test manufacturing methods used in factories in Northumberland.
The company will lease a site at Hams Hall in Warwickshire from warehouse developer Prologis, with the equipment expected to be installed by the end of autumn 2023.
The move would give BritishVault access to a significant number of engineers working in the West Midlands, which had long been at the center of the British automotive industry. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is planning a battery assembly center at Hams Hall, where German carmaker BMW builds a petrol engine.
BritishVault has pursued partnerships and investment shocks following its ambition to build electric car batteries from scratch. It secured £ 100m in government funding in January, with support from investment firm Abrdn and fund manager Tritax, which is expected to eventually reach £ 1.7bn. BritishVault recently secured an investment from Monaco-based shipping company Scorpio Group, with an indication that it would also look beyond the automotive industry for customers. However, it has signed a memorandum of understanding with UK carmakers Aston Martin and Lagonda.
BritishVault has chosen to build its “gigafactory” – the industrial term is typically used for a battery plant with an annual capacity of more than 10 gigawatt-hours – at Cambyses near Blythe in Northumberland. That site was selected partly because of access to renewable energy from offshore windfarms.
Paul Franklin, property director at BritishVault, said he wanted the company to “lead the UK’s re-industrialization journey through the first full-scale battery gigaplant” and added that the Hams Hall facility would help the UK build its home country. Flatten. “
The only other planned battery plant of a similar scale is an investment by China Envision at a Sunderland site that was previously owned to make batteries for Nissan’s electric models. Another attempt to build a “gigafactory” at Coventry Airport has yet to find a large investor.
The project hopes to attract investment from a major automotive company, with the West Midlands-based JLR being seen as the most suitable. However, JLR did not deny a Bloomberg report last week that it was considering overseas battery sourcing from Sweden’s Northvolt or China’s SVOLT Energy Technology for a range of electric vehicles that could be integrated into Slovakia.