Somerset Chamber of Commerce has welcomed Tata Group’s plans to build a new multibillion-pound electric car battery factory at the Gravity site near Bridgwater.
The £4 billion factory is one of the largest ever investments in the UK automotive sector and will create up to 4,000 new direct jobs and thousands more in the wider supply chain.
Although neither the Government or Gravity has confirmed it will be built at the site near Bridgwater, local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger confirmed to media Gravity had been chosen for the development when the Government announced it had struck a deal with Tata to build a gigafactory in the UK.
The factory will supply JLR’s future battery electric models including the Range Rover, Defender, Discovery and Jaguar brands, with the potential to also supply other car manufacturers. Production at the new gigafactory is due to start in 2026.
Emma Rawlings (pictured), Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is fantastic news for Bridgwater, Somerset and the wider South West. It will bring a huge economic boost to the area, thousands of new jobs, investment in skills and scores of supply chain opportunities.
“It puts Somerset, its businesses and workforce at the heart of the green revolution to switch from fossil fuel vehicles to electric vehicles and secures a home-grown supply chain, without the need to rely on imports.
“Somerset businesses are already familiar with the Hinkley Point C supply chain so are well placed to provide expertise for the gigafactory.
“And as car makers are already switching their production vehicles to all-electric, having capacity in the UK to produce batteries will almost certainly attract additional investment from the automotive industry.
“This is a massive vote of confidence in Somerset, the South West and UK.”
The Government said the new gigafactory would provide almost half of the battery production needed by 2030 and would be one of the largest in Europe.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Tata Group’s multi-billion-pound investment in a new battery factory in the UK is testament to the strength of our car manufacturing industry and its skilled workers.
“With the global transition to zero emission vehicles well underway, this will help grow our economy by driving forward our lead in battery technology whilst creating as many as 4,000 jobs, and thousands more in the supply chain.
“We can be incredibly proud that Britain has been chosen as home to Tata Group’s first gigafactory outside India, securing our place as one of the most attractive places to build electric vehicles.”
Mr N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, said: “The Tata Group is deeply committed to a sustainable future across our business.
“Today, 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.
“With this strategic investment, the Tata Group further strengthens its commitment to the UK, alongside our many companies operating here across technology, consumer, hospitality, steel, chemicals, and automotive.
“I also want to thank His Majesty’s Government, which has worked so closely with us to enable this investment.”