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Jaguars Soon To Be Seen In Somerset!

Jaguars Soon To Be Seen In Somerset!
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Managing Director

In a major coup for British car manufacturing, Tata Group has committed to building a 40GW factory in the UK to support the growth of its electric vehicle production. 

After extensive negotiations with the British government, Tata Group, owner of Jaguar Land Rover, made a £4bn pledge to build an electric car battery 40GW Gigafactory in Somerset.

Tata Group, which owns JLR and d15 other car brands, sees this factory as key to enabling their move from combustion engine vehicles, particularly for them, their SUVs range, to electric versions, part of their “Reimagine” electrification programme.

For the government, this factory is integral to delivering on net zero commitments, one of which is banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030. To offset this, electric vehicle (EV) production will need to grow significantly and rapidly, requiring a sharp increase in batteries for those vehicles. The Faraday Institution predicts the UK will need a minimum of five Gigafactories by 2030, producing 100 GWh to support this plan. This one factory represents almost half of that requirement.

Tata was keen to have a UK or EU-based factory to avoid potential post-Brexit tariffs: the rules state at least 40% of the content of EVs and 30% of batteries must originate from the EU or the UK. Alongside the UK, a rival site in Spain was under consideration; however, the government’s total investment of £500m, including R&D funding incentives and discounted energy costs, seems to have tipped the scales for Somerset. It’s worth noting there are parallel negotiations underway concerning Tata’s Port Talbot steel plant, which needs an investment of £bn or more to upgrade to new technologies that will allow it to cut carbon emissions. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has reiterated his commitment to net zero targets, so will we see a deal struck that will include government support for those upgrades and for that steel to build the new Gigafactory?

As it stands, the UK has only one Gigafactory, located in Sunderland, providing batteries for Nissan’s Leaf EVs. This bares poor comparison with Europe, which boasts 35 Gigafactories. In recent years, there have been two proposals to build Gigafactories here, but neither has come to fruition: In 2019, Tesla took the decision to locate their Gigafactory in Europe, and earlier this year, Britishvolt’s £3.8 bn Gigafactory in Blyth was scrapped when the company went into administration. The JLR investment, one of the largest ever investments in the UK, was a crucial coup for the UK’s automotive industry and the electrification programme.

The new 40GW factory will be built at the 616-acre Gravity Smart business park, which is being touted as a high-tech location for green economy advanced manufacturing. Situated just off the M5 near Bridgeport, Somerset, the site is critical as it places battery production between JLR’s car factories, concentrated in the Midlands, and Cornish Lithium, ethical lithium suppliers, in Cornwell.

The location offers staff a high quality of life, a factor key to attracting and retaining workers – just as well as the plant will provide four thousand jobs directly. Importantly for the UK economy, the factory will provide thousands more jobs throughout the supply chain. There will also be a requirement for investment in the infrastructure in the surrounding area to support both the business and its staff – more good news for the local economy.

More Gigafactories must be built if the UK is to keep up with the demand for EVs. A government committee has determined where we need five factories by 2030; five more will be needed over the next decade. The government is undoubtedly hoping the announcement of Tata’s pledge will encourage other foreign investment in this area. BMW and Toyota have both been in talks, although, as yet, there is no commitment. And Elon Musk is once more voicing thoughts of establishing a Tesla Gigafactory towards the end of this year. Time will tell.

The new JLR site is expected to start producing batteries in 2026.

ASL Recruitment was established in 1999 and has served Hastings and the surrounding area ever since, placing temporary and permanent roles across various sectors, including Industrial and Manufacturing, Legal, Finance, Marketing, Technology and Office Support, from junior to board level. Our co-founder and Managing Director,  Jason Perry , is an HR specialist and a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.