July 20, 2023: UK battery ambitions were given a major boost yesterday as Tata Sons confirmed plans to invest more than £4 billion ($5 billion) to build a 40GW battery cell factory in the country.
Tata chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran (pictured) said the gigafactory would start producing cells at the site in Somerset in 2026 following a “rapid ramp-up phase” — supplying batteries for EVs and battery storage systems in the UK and mainland Europe.
The UK government said its financial support for the project, reportedly amounting to hundreds of millions of pounds, will be disclosed at a later date.
Chandrasekaran said the move also underscored the group’s commitment to investing in e-mobility through its UK-based Jaguar Land Rover business.
The plant will deploy innovative technologies and resource efficient processes like battery recycling to recover and reuse all the original raw materials “to deliver a truly circular economy ecosystem”, Tata said.
“The battery gigafactory will produce high-quality, high-performance, sustainable battery cells and packs for a variety of applications within the mobility and energy sectors.”
According to the UK government, the plant’s initial 40GWh output will provide nearly half of the battery production that the Faraday Institution estimates the UK will need by 2030.
However, the founder of the UK’s FairCharge EV campaign group, Quentin Willson, said there was a genuine fear in the industry that the project “could sweep up all available government support, which would be hugely detrimental” to the UK’s net-zero plans.