Tata Motors, the multinational automaker of India, has announced its plans to establish a $5.2 billion gigafactory in the United Kingdom, signaling a major victory for the British automotive sector in need of domestic battery production for a more secure future. This will be Tata’s first gigafactory outside India, with the project poised to create up to 4,000 jobs in the country.
This groundbreaking decision by Tata Motors, known for its Jaguar Land Rover line, symbolizes the UK’s most substantial progress in the burgeoning gigafactory sector. It’s a much-needed push to stay competitive with the U.S. and the European Union, both leading in the race for green industries.
The construction of the gigafactory comes with a hefty investment of £4 billion (approximately $5.2 billion). The facility is projected to have an initial output of 40 gigawatt hours. The details of the financial support offered by the government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have not been disclosed, but sources hint at subsidies worth several hundred million pounds.
Currently, the UK has been trailing its European counterparts in establishing electric vehicle (EV) battery gigafactories. The EU has over 30 such facilities planned or already under construction. The UK presently houses a relatively smaller Nissan plant, with another facility in development.
“This move is a significant milestone and sends a clear message to the global car industry that the UK is fully open for business,” said investment minister Dominic Johnson. He expressed hopes of reaching peak car production levels in the next five to ten years.
The Somerset region in South-West England is set to house the new plant. This location complements the proximity to Jaguar Land Rover factories near Birmingham in Central England, highlighting the necessity of manufacturing heavy batteries close to their respective car plants.
By 2026, the plant will commence production to supply batteries for Jaguar Land Rover’s future electric models, including the Range Rover, Defender, Discovery, and Jaguar brands. The factory will provide almost half of the UK’s battery production needs by 2030, as per the estimates of the Faraday Institution.
The significant investment comes amid Britain’s critical stage in free trade discussions with India. The chairman of Tata Sons, N Chandrasekaran, expressed gratitude to the UK government for their support in enabling the investment and reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the UK.