A new ‘gigafactory’ making electric car batteries which could create 6,000 jobs in the West Midlands has taken a step closer after plans were submitted for the scheme.
A joint venture team of Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport has lodged the plans for the 5.7 million sq ft facility at the airport.
If given the green light, the factory would produce batteries for electric cars, something considered vital to combating climate change and boosting the green economy, as well as run recycling services.
It would also be powered 100 per cent by green energy sources such as solar and wind power.
The proposals were first announced in February by the newly formed JV and a decision on planning consent is expected later this year.
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The plant is due to become operational by 2025 and it is estimated it would contribute £434 million in economic output to the region every year.
Ten of thousands of jobs would be supported in the associated supply chain, alongside the 6,000 created directly by the factory, with car makers keen to work with gigafactories close to their own manufacturing bases.
Private sector investment is said to be needed but reports suggest conversations are under way with potential suppliers.
The West Midlands is home to several high-profile car manufacturers such as BMW and Aston Martin while Jaguar Land Rover, which is headquartered in Coventry, said in February that all its vehicles would be available as pure electrics by the end of the decade.
Coventry Airport is also adjacent to the UK’s largest battery research centre, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre.
Coventry City Council leader Cllr 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.”
Carmakers have previously warned that 90,000 jobs could be lost if the UK fails to build enough car battery gigafactories.
Industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said job losses would be “concentrated outside of London and the South East, further increasing regional inequality”.
The UK government has also banned the sale of new petrol and diesel cars after 2030, adding to the pressing need to increase production of these batteries in the UK or risk losing their manufacture to other countries.