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Britishvolt to build UK’s first gigafactory in Wales
** UPDATE – In December 2020 Britishvolt announced it would build its gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland – full story HERE. Original article below from 30th July 2020 **
Britishvolt has teamed up with renowned Italian design house Pininfarina to build the UK’s first large-scale battery gigafactory in South Wales.
The design collaboration comes after Britishvolt announced earlier this month that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Welsh government in a bid to develop a commercially viable 35 GWh battery manufacturing plant, and supplementary 200MW solar plant, at the former RAF base at Bro Tathan in South Wales.
After six months of analysis, the new site was narrowed down from over 40 locations, with factors including import and export accessibility, availability of labour and skilled staff, and geographical proximity to customers and local industrial companies all playing a part. The MOU signals the beginning of a collaboration to build the UK’s first full cycle battery cell gigaplant, subject to UK government funding through the Automotive Transformation Fund, producing lithium ion cylindrical and pouch cells, primarily servicing the automotive market.
It is anticipated that the initial £1.2bn of investment from the company could eventually lead towards the creation of 3,500 jobs. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2021.
The Pininfarina legacy spans more than 90 years at the forefront of automotive design, and more recently an expansion into the field of architecture. Working with brands such as Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Peugeot – including a renovation of the Eurostar fleet operating between London and Paris – the Italian studio prides itself on always incorporating local culture and community needs within the creation of its spaces, to ensure the maximum positive impact on mental and physical well-being – with sustainability at the top of the agenda.
The priority for Britishvolt was to partner with a company with expertise in this field, that could design a facility that is both sensitive to its surroundings, as well as open and welcoming to the local residents.
Orral Nadjari, CEO and founder at Britishvolt, said: “Britishvolt’s aim to become the world’s first zero carbon battery manufacturer aligns perfectly with Pininfarina’s expertise in creating green, high tech and innovative environments. With carefully selected sustainable materials that take into account the entire building’s life cycle, Pininfarina’s appreciation of social impact is what drew us to this partnership. Their balance between pioneering design and understanding of local culture, is one Britishvolt is proud to take forward.”
Silvio Pietro Angori, CEO at Pininfarina, added: “We are proud to collaborate with Britishvolt on such an ambitious project, thus contributing towards creating the UK’s largest battery manufacturing facility, and advancing the evolution of e-mobility. Our focus has always been on combining timeless design with social and environmental sustainability, both in automotive design and architecture. Sustainable design is no longer an option to consider down the line, it’s a necessary commitment to create social and economic value for future generations.”
Orral Nadjari concluded: “We are aware of the significant impact our 2.7 million square feet gigaplant will have on the region’s landscape. Interacting with the local community will be a priority for us, and we will ensure that a regular dialogue with the residents and businesses takes place. We want this structure to stand as a beautiful testament to the local culture, our greener future, and the country’s world-class expertise in battery research and development – which will only continue to grow.”