UK electric vehicle battery company, Britishvolt, has received Government funding to help build a Gigafactory in the North East.
Once complete, the factory will produce enough batteries for more than 300,000 electric vehicles (EVs) each year, supporting the UK automotive industry’s transition to a zero emissions future and increased production of EVs.
The Government support, the level of which has not been disclosed, will help to unlock further support from private investors.
Alongside private sector investment, the project is set to create 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs and another 5,000 indirect jobs in the wider supply chain.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Today’s news is a major boost for Britain and a resounding vote of confidence in the North East economy.
“Britishvolt’s planned gigafactory will not only enable the UK to fully capture the benefits of a booming electric vehicle market, but will bring thousands of highly-skilled, well-paid jobs to the North East.
“In this global race between countries to secure vital battery production, this Government is proud to make the investment necessary to ensure UK’s retains its place as one of the best locations in the world for auto manufacturing.”
Global construction specialist ISG has been appointed to lead the build of the £2.6 billion project located at Blyth, Northermberland. It will be built on a 95-hectare site, formerly the site of the Blyth Power Station.
Peter Rolton, Britishvolt executive chairman, said: “This announcement is a major step in putting the UK at the forefront of the global energy transition, unlocking huge private sector investment that will develop the technology and skills required for Britain to play its part in the next industrial revolution.”
Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles, said the announcement was "huge" news for UK EVs.
"If we are to keep up with the demand landslide we’re seeing for EVs, steps like this to help smooth out supply chain issues will help us provide even more cars to Brits looking to make the switch," she said.
"It is also brilliant to see the Government reaffirming their commitment to clean transport and the broader UK auto sector.
"The momentum is only swinging one way and 2022 will be the year that really puts electric vehicles in pole position.”
The announcement was also welcomed by Meryem Brassington, electrification propositions lead at Lex Autolease. She said: "The rise of EV registrations is now at a UK high, however there is a real risk of demand outstripping supply creating a barrier to those wanting to make the transition.
"This strong signal of intent from the Government should provide comfort to the automotive industry and ensure the long-term supply of EV batteries across the country.
“That said, this is just one step in ensuring a green transition for the industry and country as a whole. If we are to achieve our ambitions, the Government cannot take their foot off the pedal and must continue to support the automotive industry to drive EV uptake on a mass-market scale.”