The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board, chaired by Mayor Andy Street, approved the repayable grant of £18 million to help ensure UKBIC has the latest technology to attract top-tier automotive manufacturers and R&D companies.
L-R Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, George Hull lead engineer at UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, Eve Wheeler-Jones PhD student at WMG, and then Minister for Business and Industry Andrew Stephenson at the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre under construction in Coventry, pictured at the launch of the Local Industrial Strategy
A consortium comprising Coventry City Council, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Warwick Manufacturing Group were awarded £80m by the Government towards the UKBIC in November 2017, before then Business Secretary Greg Clark announced a £28m boost in May 2019 as his department launched the first Local Industrial Strategy in the West Midlands.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “UKBIC aims to put the West Midlands at the forefront of global battery research, as the automotive market moves away from polluting fuels like petrol and diesel and towards a greener, cleaner future using battery technology.
“This investment by the WMCA will help ensure UKBIC features the very best, cutting-edge manufacturing technology, which in turn will attract automotive manufacturers and leading research scientists to the region to scale-up ground-breaking technology.
“Here in the West Midlands we are building a cutting edge electric vehicle cluster including UKBIC and JLR’s Castle Bromwich plant where the new all electric XJ will be built.
“This cluster is helping to position our region as the global leader in autonomous vehicles, however in order to take the next step we have to build a gigafactory. This factory would mass produce the state-of-the-art batteries that UKBIC will scale up, and I would implore the Government to continue to back our plans.”
Jonathan Browning, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “UKBIC will play a vital role in helping the UK to become a global leader in the manufacture and scale-up of batteries and is truly a collaborative project.
“Coventry and Warwickshire has been at the forefront of innovation and expertise in a number of vital areas, and UKBIC will see us leading a project which will have a major influence on the sector.”
The 18,000m2 facility, which is due to be completed in March 2020, will initially employ an estimated 100 people once fully operational.
Additional jobs will also be generated in the supply chain, and further employment and training opportunities will be created in the future.