Chinese battery maker plans to build UK’s biggest gigafactory

CGI plan of West Midlands Gigafactory site.
CGI plan of West Midlands Gigafactory site. Copyright UK Centre of Electrification/Influence Associates
Copyright UK Centre of Electrification/Influence Associates
By Eleanor Butler
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

EVE Energy has allegedly pledged an initial £1.2 billion to create a battery plant on the outskirts of Coventry, England.


Some 6,000 jobs could be created if Chinese battery manufacturer EVE Energy goes ahead with proposals to build a gigafactory in central England.

The plant, backed by an initial £1.2 billion (€1.4 billion) of investment, would become a central component of the UK’s Centre of Electrification, a new investment zone that seeks to capitalise on green technology.

According to the Sunday Times, which first reported on the discussions, the preliminary project would have an output of 20 gigawatt hours, which would subsequently be ramped up to 60 gigawatt hours.

"We do not comment on media speculation," a spokesperson for the West Midlands Gigafactory told Euronews Business.

She added: "West Midlands Gigafactory is the only available site in the UK that sits within an investment zone and has planning permission for a large-scale battery manufacturing facility. We are in discussions with a number of global battery manufacturers, but these remain confidential."

The expansion of the site would make EVE's plant twice the size of Nissan’s electric battery factory in Sunderland, a city in the North East of England.

"The UK continues to be a magnet for big investments," said Dan Coatsworth, investment analyst at AJ Bell.

"Hot off the heels of Microsoft and Google announcing plans to spend billions of dollars on data centres in the country, chatter that EVE Energy may also spend a considerable sum on building a gigafactory near Coventry implies that foreign companies see the UK as a vibrant place to invest."

The reported project follows last year’s pledge from Tata Group, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, to build an electric battery plant in Somerset, England.

However, despite these victories, some groups are concerned that not enough is being done to support the expansion of UK gigafactories going forward.

Last month, the Business and Trade Committee, a cross-party group of MPs, said that the government didn’t have a clear plan for the future of UK battery manufacturing.

"The EV industry is a critical industry for Britain’s future and if we fail to act now, we risk creating a 'gigagap' that threatens the jobs of 160,000 people working in the UK automotive industry," said Liam Byrne, chair of the Business and Trade Committee.

"The UK needs 100GWh of battery manufacturing capacity by 2030, but we did not see a clear government plan to deliver that ambition."

EVE's project in Coventry could attract up to £2 billion in private investment, but this funding will likely rely on government subsidies worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

The location of the factory already provides some incentives, as eligible businesses within the West Midlands Investment Zone benefit from reduced taxes.

For Andy Street, Conservative mayor of the West Midlands, securing the deal with EVE Energy would be a victory as he seeks to be re-elected in May.

There is, however, some concern surrounding the influence of the Chinese government in the UK.

Last year, UK business secretary Kemi Badenoch warned that, in the interest of national security, the nation must not become "overly reliant" on Chinese battery technology.


EU politicians also share these fears as EVE is in the process of building several European battery factories, notably in Hungary.

It’s uncertain whether EVE has already secured prospective clients to buy batteries from a Coventry plant.

Last year, a proposal from manufacturer Britishvolt to build a gigafactory in the northern town of Blyth collapsed after the firm failed to secure sufficient orders.

Share this articleComments

You might also like