Pininfarina-designed battery production plant planned for Wales
Plans are afoot to build a monster battery cell production facility in the UK, but it's not going to another Tesla Gigafactory. Startup Britishvolt expects construction of its 30-GWh GigaPlant to start in Wales next year.
The journey toward the UK's first full cycle battery cell "GigaPlant" started back in May with AMTE Power – which already operates a small-scale battery production plant in Scotland – and Britishvolt – founded last year to secure investment in battery cell production in the UK – partnering to build a lithium ion battery production facility, instead of importing cells needed for electric vehicles from the Far East.
After considering more than 40 potential locations, plans moved forward in July when Britishvolt signed a memorandum of understanding with the Welsh Government to site the cylindrical and pouch cell manufacturing facility, and a 200-MW solar power plant for, according to Britishvolt founder and CEO Orral Nadjari, "a near carbon neutral electricity input," at a former RAF base in the Vale of Glamorgan.
A couple of weeks ago, famed Italian design house Pininfarina was tapped to design the GigaPlant. "We are honored to collaborate with world-renowned design powerhouse Pininfarina, to create our landmark GigaPlant," said Nadjari. "At Britishvolt, we believe in prioritizing an innovative design to match the future quality of our lithium ion cells. With Pininfarina bringing the full force of its elegance and heritage in automotive design to architecture, we believe we can accomplish this desire."
And just today, other partners have been revealed. The UK's largest independent construction firm, NG Bailey, will take lead on the build, with Rolton Group Ltd undertaking all engineering design. Architecture project management will be handled by Ridge and Partners LLP, while property company Savills takes care of infrastructure and planning.
The 2.5 million square foot (over 232,000 sq m) GigaPlant will have a production capacity of up to 30 gigawatt-hours per year and create up to 3,500 jobs in the area. Construction is due to start in early 2021 for a target opening in 2023.