Jobs boost as Tata announces £4bn investment in UK gigafactory

Thousands of jobs are to be created following the decision by India’s Tata Sons to invest over $4bn in a UK gigafactory.


Widely reported as being destined for Somerset, the gigafactory will create up to 4,000 jobs, plus thousands more in the supply chain for battery materials and critical raw minerals.

Described by SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes as ‘a shot in the arm for the UK automotive industry’, the new facility will produce batteries for Tata subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover, plus other manufacturers in the UK and Europe.

In a statement, Tata Sons chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran said: “I am delighted to announce the Tata Group will be setting up one of Europe’s largest battery cell manufacturing facilities in the UK. Our multi-billion-pound investment will bring state-of-the-art technology to the country, helping to power the automotive sector’s transition to electric mobility, anchored by our own business, JLR.”

Manufacture at the new gigafactory is due to start in 2026, producing 40GWh of cells annually. Tata said it aims to run the plant on 100 per cent renewable energy and will deliver a circular economy ecosystem by employing ‘resource efficient processes like battery recycling to recover and reuse all the original raw materials.’

“We have been working tirelessly with the company, and across government, to make the case for why the UK is the best place for them to invest,” said energy security secretary Grant Shapps. “This new gigafactory puts us firmly in the fast lane to becoming the capital of Europe’s electric car market, and makes crystal clear how they see the UK as the place to be for their future growth.”

Commenting on the development, Nick Harrison, partner and automotive industry specialist at Vendigital, said: “The UK’s automotive industry has been calling for more support in battery production for some time and this move by Jaguar Land Rover, part of Tata Motors, with the backing of the UK Government, has come at just the right time, following the recent collapse of BritishVolt.  

“Annual car production in the UK fell to a 66-year low in 2022, and the UK’s once thriving automotive industry is at risk of falling even further behind as the market transitions to EVs. This is partly due to the rise in global competition from countries like China, where auto makers are leading the race to produce EVs for the mass market and where battery cells are already being produced at scale.  

“With this investment, the UK’s developing EV industry can begin to catch up and with the domestic market for EVs projected to grow by 14 per cent [2023-2027], rising to a value of more than $32bn, there is a sizeable market opportunity to play for.” 

The Department for Business and Trade said details of government support to Tata Sons ‘will be published in due course’.

Adding a note of caution, Dr Andy Palmer, founder and CEO of Palmer Automotive, said: “If UK dishes out the bulk of its battery-related support to one brand, then we still face likely car industry Armageddon. Support must come in all shapes and sizes for businesses of all shapes and sizes. One gigafactory doesn’t equal success, it equals part of the puzzle. We need a harmonious, collaborative, strategic industrial strategy that lifts all boats, or the tide will sweep the UK automotive sector into the deep abyss.”

Tony Hague, CEO of PP Control & Automation added: “It is superb news that we have this huge battery plant coming. However, we will be missing a massive ‘GDP’ opportunity if we don’t put plans in place to ensure that it is UK companies who supply the content and technical knowledge required to make the batteries here.

“We can’t afford to have this state-of-the-art plant and then ‘farm out’ large parts of the component and sub-contract value to overseas suppliers. If we can get this right, then the actual positive impact will be way more than the £4bn going into Somerset.”

Does this development put the UK ‘in the fast lane to becoming the capital of Europe’s electric car market’, or has the rest of Europe pulled too far ahead in the race to produce batteries? Let us know in the Comments below.