Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motors is set to pick Britain as the destination for its multi-billion pound electric vehicle battery plant.
Reuters is reporting that the bosses of the Indian firm are expected to fly to the UK next week to finalise the deal. It had been reported earlier this week that Tata Motors was also considering Spain as the location for its brand new EV battery plant.
The new plant could employ 9,000 people in Somerset, southwest England, the BBC reported.
The move represents a significant step for the UK’s battery and electric vehicle industry and follows on from Britain’s finance minister Jeremy Hunt’s comments earlier this week, where he told reporters to “watch this space” in regards to the UK’s electric vehicle battery making capacity.
“Watch this space because we are very focussed on making sure that the UK gets EV and manufacturing capacity,” he said.
Tata Motors, the Indian automotive company that owns Jaguar Land Rover, is also investing heavily into electric vehicle manufacturing in the UK.
In April, Jaguar Land Rover announced plans to invest £15bn into its vehicle programmes, with its Halewood site in Merseyside to become an all-electric manufacturing facility. The company’s Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton is also to be renamed to the Electric Propulsion Manufacturing Centre.
JLR will also open its pre-order books for the first all-electric Range Rover later this year, with a ‘next generation’ medium-size SUV to be fully electric as well.
Commenting on the latest announcement, Tim Alcock from LeaseElectricCar.co.uk said that not only will it generate up to 9,000 jobs, but news of a new battery plant is a much needed boost for the UK electric car industry.
He said: “We are delighted that Jaguar Land Rover are building this much needed facility here in the UK. The EU has 35 electric car battery plants open, in construction or in planning stages, and currently the UK is significantly behind in these industrial strategies.
“The UK government acknowledges the urgent need for electric vehicle battery manufacturing in the UK to support the rapid uptake of EVs. The building of this facility will help bolster the infrastructure required to allow the industry to grow.”