A new UK gigafactory but the work has only just begun!

1 min read

Last week’s announcement by Tata that it has chosen the UK for a new £4bn battery gigafactory is being seen as a major success for the UK, not only bringing new jobs but also easing concerns that the UK was falling behind the rest of the world.

Before getting carried away it should be remembered that this will be only the second gigafactory in the UK, compared to 34 in the US, nine in Germany and over 280 in China. However, this investment, backed by £500m from the UK government, is being viewed as a critical first step in helping to create a broader battery supply chain and it’s hoped that Tata’s investment will encourage other companies to invest in the UK.

In fact, speaking to The Observer newspaper, Ian Constance, chief executive of the Advanced Propulsion Centre, which organises the government’s programme of subsidies for the UK automotive industry, said that other gigafactory investments were in the ‘pipeline’.

The Tata gigafactory will provide 40GWh of battery capacity a year, and the investment is seen as pushing the UK battery industry above critical mass for supply chain companies to look seriously at investing in the UK.

However, several experts have warned that the UK needs at least three gigafactories if it is to be more than just a bit player in the global industry.

So, while Tata’s announcement is a welcome start, in truth, the work has only just started.