Major investor still not secured for region's gigafactory scheme, bosses reveal

Bosses behind the region's gigafactory proposals have revealed they are yet to secure the investment required to back the project.

The gigafactory is planned for a site at Coventry Airport
The gigafactory is planned for a site at Coventry Airport

The £2.5 billion scheme is seeking financial backing from a battery manufacturer before it can access further investment from the Government.

A planning application for the project at Coventry Airport was submitted earlier this year but as yet no suitable backer has been found.

It would see Coventry Airport closed down and a gigafactory built on a plot the size of 74 football pitches.

West Midlands Gigafactory, the joint venture between Coventry Council and Coventry Airport which is behind the scheme, says it is continuing to explore investment opportunities with battery manufacturers from around the globe.

Once up and running the site will deliver up to 60GWh of production per year. It will be powered by a planned boost to the local energy network, with access to a 100 per cent renewable electricity supply from a combination of solar power and grid-supplied renewables. It will also recycle used batteries using an approach known as 'cradle to cradle'.

The gigafactory is planned for a site at Coventry Airport

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said the gigafactory would benefit the whole region by creating thousands of jobs and securing the future of the automotive industry.

He said: "We are doing what we can to be able to get the site operational ASAP once a commercial negotiation between supplier and customer concludes.

"The West Midlands is already home to the country’s biggest car manufacturer, Europe’s largest research centre of its kind, the UK’s only battery industrialisation centre, and a world-leading supply chain.

"A gigafactory therefore is the natural next step for the UK’s automotive heartland, and, working in partnership with industry and the Government, we will not rest until we have secured one."

Bosses hope the gigafactory will start producing high-tech batteries for electric vehicles from 2025.

Project director Mike Murray said the site at Coventry Airport was "ideally positioned" to supply batteries for the UK's leading automotive manufacturers.

It has been opposed by the the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which said shutting down the airport would damage the region's economic potential.

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