Could the UK’s first Gigafactory be set to be built on the site of Coventry Airport?

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Earlier this month, Coventry City Council announced that it had entered into a joint venture partnership with Coventry Airport Ltd to bring forward proposals for the UK’s first Gigafactory on the site of Coventry Airport.

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Coventry has been chosen as the preferred site across the West Midlands and has now submitted a full planning application for a 5.7m sq ft Gigafactory on the site.

Following the announcement, Cllr George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council 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. We are the ideal location for a Gigafactory as the home of the UK automotive sector, alongside world-leading research in battery technology.”

A Gigafactory at Coventry Airport is predicted to generate at least 4,500 jobs directly, as well as tens of thousands more across the supply chain, and represent an investment of up to £2bn in the West Midlands.

This investment will secure Coventry’s position at the heart of UK automotive manufacturing and development, enhance the local supply chain, create jobs for local residents and ensure we remain a world leader in cutting edge technology.

Oliver Shaw, CEO at Kalibrate, comments: “Home to global carmakers Jaguar and Aston Martin, a gigafactory in the heart of West Midlands to address the electric vehicle (EV) car battery conundrum is an encouraging move and reflects the growing move towards EVs.

“Yet there is a long road ahead for EVs to become mainstream. While the investment is a positive step, the current reality for EV manufacturers, and drivers, is that the charging infrastructure within the UK does not cater for a rapid adoption of EVs. In fact, it was only at the end of 2020 that the UK’s first electric forecourt opened. Addressing the pain points that consumers experience will be a critical step, as our research showed that range anxiety (27%) and worries around the complexity of charging (27%) were the two biggest barriers stopping consumers from purchasing an EV; price and value for money were also primary reasons for drivers to not purchase an EV (54%). For the businesses that can integrate EV charging to their locations, they’ll have a significant opportunity to tap into an entirely new revenue stream.

“This is a peek into a future where we have purpose-built, electric-only forecourts that are hubs with cafes, wellbeing areas, business lounges, children’s areas and washrooms, as well as shops. It’s an exciting prospect which the likes of Shell, Ford and many more are already committing to and investing in their EV approach.”

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