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Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Tata to Build Flagship Electric Car Battery Factory in UK, With Government Subsidies

Tata to Build Flagship Electric Car Battery Factory in UK, With Government Subsidies

Jaguar Land Rover-owner Tata is set to announce plans to build its flagship electric car battery factory in the UK, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The new plant in Somerset is expected to be officially announced on Wednesday and will be a significant investment in the UK automotive industry.

The government has provided subsidies worth hundreds of millions of pounds to support the project, sources have revealed.

The factory will be significant in boosting the car manufacturing sector as it transitions from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles, which typically account for more than half of the value of an electric vehicle.

The investment could lead to the creation of up to 9,000 jobs around Bridgwater in Somerset.

The announcement comes as the UK government has been criticized for lacking a clear industrial strategy and falling behind other countries in attracting investment in low-carbon technologies.

Some industry insiders hope that the Tata battery investment will open the door to further battery investments in the UK.

Currently, the UK only has one battery factory in operation, next to Nissan's Sunderland factory, and one barely on the drawing board in Northumberland.

Another proposed battery manufacturer, Britishvolt, went into administration earlier this year.

In contrast, the EU has 35 battery plants in operation, under construction or planned.

The new factory in Somerset will initially supply batteries for a new range of electric Jaguar and Land Rover models.

Tata Group, an Indian multinational, considered a rival site in Spain for the battery plant.

Its decision to choose the UK is likely to be viewed as a big win for Britain by the government.

However, sources said a significant level of subsidy has been provided, which is likely to be in the form of cash grants, discounts on the cost of energy, and training and research funding.

The size of the incentive package has not been disclosed.

As well as owning Jaguar Land Rover, Tata has extensive steel interests in the UK, including the Port Talbot plant in South Wales, and the government is also expected to offer around £300m to subsidise, upgrade, and decarbonise those operations.

The UK government has been criticized for its lack of a clear industrial strategy and for Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently emphasized the importance of a holistic approach to electric vehicle (EV) production, highlighting the significance of a global network of Gigafactories in achieving sustainable transportation.

Speaking at the Tesla Cybertruck unveiling event, Musk emphasized that one Gigafactory alone does not guarantee success.

Instead, a comprehensive strategy that includes multiple Gigafactories, a robust global charging network, and a diverse range of electric vehicles is necessary to drive widespread adoption of EVs. In support of this strategy, Tesla is planning to build a total of 14 Gigafactories across the world, with a focus on localizing production in each region.

This will allow the company to bring down costs, reduce shipping times, and create jobs in each market where it operates.

In addition to Gigafactories, Tesla is also expanding its global charging network, with plans to install over 1,500 Supercharger stations worldwide by the end of 2021.

This will provide drivers with the necessary infrastructure to travel long distances with their electric vehicles, further reducing range anxiety and encouraging more people to make the switch to EVs. Musk also emphasized the importance of offering a diverse range of electric vehicles at different price points to meet the needs of various customers.

With this in mind, Tesla recently unveiled the Cybertruck, a futuristic electric pickup truck that is expected to appeal to a wider audience than the company's existing Model S and Model 3 sedans.

Musk acknowledged that the launch of the Cybertruck had been bumpy, with the windows breaking during a demonstration on stage.

However, he emphasized that the vehicle's unique features, such as its impressive hauling capabilities and spacious interior, made it a game-changer in the EV market.

Overall, Musk's vision for Tesla's success goes beyond just building Gigafactories.

It involves a comprehensive strategy that addresses the entire ecosystem of electric vehicles, from production to charging infrastructure to vehicle diversity.

With this approach, Tesla is well positioned to lead the way in the transition to sustain
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