British battery manufacturer Britishvolt has unveiled plans to establish a 30GWh battery Gigaplant, which will be located in Northumberland, UK, in a bid to help safeguard the UK in its transition from fossil fuels to electrification.
The company plans to build the facility quickly, with plans for the project to be up and running to full capacity by 2028 and the first batteries to be produced in 2024. Britishvolt hopes that the Gigaplant will fill the growing demand for electric vehicle batteries and is already in talks with major car manufacturers, including Lotus.
In 2020, the UK announced that it would bring its plans to ban fossil fuel vehicles forward five years, from 2040 to 2030. After 2030, no new cars powered only by fossil fuels will be sold. This legislation will help the UK to drastically cut its carbon emissions. It will also drive up demand for electric vehicles, and consequently, the batteries that power them.
Britishvolt highlight the importance of locating a battery cell manufacturing site close to a renewable energy source. Battery production is energy-intensive, and if fossil fuels are used to power this process, it undermines the sustainability of electric vehicles. Therefore, Britishvolt chose Northumberland as the site of its new Gigaplant in order to leverage the vast amount of renewable energy available in the county due to its recent commitment to accelerating ‘green’ energy. The company also plans to generate a lot of its energy from its 200MW solar farm that will be located at the site.
The plan to build a battery manufacturing site in a location wealthy in green energy is a strategy that may act as a blueprint for other companies in the future. Models like this are important for guiding the industry in this uncertain time where much change is occurring. Currently, Britishvolt is only one of two companies that have planned major battery manufacturing projects in the UK. Britishvolt’s focus on establishing sustainable manufacturing processes is an important move to inspire future industry players to do the same. Without a commitment to using renewables at all parts of the automotive supply chain, a sustainable future for transportation will not be achievable.