The electric car revolution is gathering pace in the UK with EVs making up 10% of all new car sales in 2020, but there is still much more that needs to be done in the coming years to reduce environmental impact and to meet targets. In a bid to push the UK’s electric vehicle market, it has been announced that there are plans for the first EV battery gigafactory to be opened in Blythe in 2027 – a plan that will provide a significant boost to the region and create 8,000 new jobs.
An Enormous Investment
Britishvolt will be investing £2.6 billion in the scheme and this will make it the largest investment in North East since the early 80s. The gigafactory will produce 300,000 lithium-ion battery packs annually and CEO Orral Nadjari believes that this is vital for ensuring that the UK does not fall behind:
“We’re actually falling behind in the manufacturing race for battery capacity in the UK”, he told City A.M. “There’s a lot of investment going into Europe at the moment in “gigafactories” which are beginning to churn out large quantities of cells for electric vehicles.” “Having a localised battery manufacturer will help us to protect the industry in this country. Around 70 per cent of British carmakers are premium brands, so it’s really important that we can look after them by making a high proportion of batteries here in the UK.”
How it Will Impact Motorists
The opening of the gigafactory will bring obvious benefits and help the region, but how will it impact motorists in the UK? It is reported that the batteries that the factory will manufacture will have an energy density of around 30% higher than competitors and this will add mileage to the vehicles that use them. This could be key in convincing more people to make the switch as range anxiety has been a major obstacle despite the fact that electric charging points now outnumber petrol stations in the UK.
The 2030 Ban
The opening of the factory will come at a key time with the UK’s proposed ban on the sale of petrol and diesel coming in in 2030 (brought forward from 2040 and 2035). It is hoped that this will help to give an extra push for those that haven’t already to make the switch and enjoy the many perks that an electric car can bring. For those that are not quite ready to fully commit, personal car leasing could be a good way to test the waters.
While positive steps have been taken, there is still work to be done to encourage motorists to switch and the opening of the first EV battery gigafactory in Blythe is a large step in the right direction that will also help to boost the constituency and surrounding areas for decades to come.