New British battery gigafactory is being built in south Wales

Carmakers building electric vehicles in the UK will soon have access to British-built batteries for the first time, thanks to a new gigafactory which is slated to open in south Wales in 2023.

Britishvolt is building its new gigafactory on a former RAF base at Bro Tathan. The factory will cover 2.5 million square feet and is set to produce batteries that will total 35 GWh of energy; comparable with the Tesla Gigafactory based in Nevada in the US.

The intention is to make Britishvolt a global player in the production of high-performance lithium ion batteries which are needed to power electric vehicles; with the firm claiming it will “become one of the largest industrial investments in British history”.

The company aims the be the world’s first zero carbon battery manufacturer. The facility is being designed by Italian design house Pininfarina.

Britishvolt claims a UK battery manufacturer will be an essential element of a continuing car manufacturing industry and will avoid a reliance on shipping heavy batteries from countries such as China. This is something the company says is particularly significant in light of the coronavirus pandemic highlighting problems with global supply chains.

With batteries accounting for as much as 40 per cent of the cost of building an electric car, Britishvolt believes having a regular local supply of batteries – which aren’t subject to fluctuating prices in foreign currencies – should provide stability for manufacturers and consumers and give them a competitive advantage.

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