South West to lead transition to electric vehicles with UK’s biggest gigafactory

Gravity (1)

Britain’s largest gigafactory will be built in Somerset, in a vote of confidence for the region’s ‘clean energy powerhouse’ status.

The gigafactory, which will be one of the largest of its kind in Europe, is set to produce almost half the batteries needed to meet UK electric vehicle demands by 2035.

The announcement underpins the South West’s critical role in the UK’s economy and net zero transition. 

The Government’s Battery Strategy outlines plans to deliver a globally competitive battery supply chain by 2030, developing the country’s world-class research, innovation, and manufacturing capabilities.

The South West’s assets, including unrivalled clean energy projects and the gigafactory, will be vital to the country’s electric vehicle supply chain, and ultimately delivering on the UK’s ambitions to become net zero by 2050.

The region is also home to the UK’s only lithium mines, the crucial tech metal needed to produce batteries for electric vehicles.

Demand for lithium is growing as the UK moves to ban the sale of conventional cars, with an estimated 80,000 tonnes of the metal needed by 2035. Planned projects in Cornwall alone could provide up to 40,000 tonnes a year.

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Great South West Partnership, said: “The South West is the home of battery technologies, stretching from tech metals in Cornwall to battery production in Somerset. With unrivalled resources and a ready supply chain, we are geared up to provide a secure, domestic supply of vital tech metals and produce the batteries needed to support the transition to net zero.

“Our region is spearheading the country’s green and blue revolution, with the potential to add over £45 billion to the economy by 2035. The Government’s decision to build this new gigafactory in Somerset strengthens our offering, and highlights the unparalleled opportunities the region presents for the UK economy.”

Councillor Bill Revans, Leader at Somerset Council and Great South West Board Member, said: “The South West has a track record of delivering major low carbon projects, and our supply chain is ready to be scaled up following the construction of Hinkley Point C.

“This nationally significant project will lead to opportunities for an array of sectors and companies throughout the development and production stages, and will bring huge economic benefits to Bridgwater and beyond.”

The new gigafactory will be located at the 616-acre Gravity site, near Bridgwater. The site is a designated Enterprise Zone, and will be one of the most sustainable smart campuses in Europe.

Gravity has ambitions to host international businesses and establish new future-facing sectors into the UK, providing sustained employment and transition opportunities from the construction of Hinkley Point C.

Claire Pearce, Director of Planning and Economic Development for Gravity, said: “The Gravity team are thrilled to see our ambition to attract international investment into the UK and host this at our campus in Somerset is now translating into confirmation of a primary occupier.  Working closely with Agratas, this £4b investment into the energy management sector will not only create training and job opportunities in Somerset, but support employment retention in the Midlands and wider UK, and stimulate research and development and new product lines. We look forward to playing a part in the UK establishing a leadership role in electric vehicle and transport decarbonisation.”