Innovation leaders call for Gigafactory in the west midlands


Innovation leaders in the West Midlands have called on the UK Government to consider the region as a home for the UK’s next Gigafactory.

Dr Clive Hickman, the leader of the Manufacturing Technology Centre, and Margot James, the executive chair at WMG, University of Warwick have made the West Midlands’ compelling case for a new battery technology Gigafactory which would support the heart of the UK’s auto industry.

The West Midlands is uniquely placed to host this vital manufacturing infrastructure, which will help ensure that the UK is able successfully to transition to electric vehicles, and ultimately meet its net zero goals by 2050.

Dr Clive Hickman, chief executive of the MTC, said, “A West Midlands Gigafactory would spark a resurgence of Britain’s proud automotive heritage, creating thousands of well-paid, high-skilled jobs to thousands of workers in the region, and provide a pipeline of demand and investment for local SMEs. Without this manufacturing infrastructure, the whole industry will be placed under threat – not just from devastating job losses at manufacturers, but from the wider impact of the collapse of businesses which are critical to the automotive supply chain.”

He added, “Net zero can only be achieved by 2050 if the automotive industry is able successfully to shift away from internal combustion to electric vehicles. However, to execute this transition, and to protect the thousands of UK jobs which are reliant on the industry and its wider supply chain, particularly in the Midlands, we need to secure new battery technology Gigafactories at the heart of the UK’s auto industry – the West Midlands. Failing to do this will put the whole sector at risk – and endanger the future of the UK’s proud automotive and engineering heritage.”

Margot James, executive chair, WMG, University of Warwick said, “For over a decade, WMG have been applying their battery expertise on a range of collaborative projects with the automotive industry. Together with the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, we are playing an essential role in attracting and growing battery Gigafactories in the UK. We strongly support the need for a Gigafactory in the West Midlands.”

The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd, and its industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.

The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions.

Pictured: MTC chief executive Dr Clive Hickman