India’s Tata Group, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, announced on Wednesday that it will invest 4 billion pounds ($5.2 billion) to build a new electric car battery factory in the UK. The plant, which will be located in Coventry, is expected to start production in 2026 and become one of Europe’s largest battery cell manufacturing sites.
The investment is the biggest in the UK automotive industry in decades and will create 4,000 direct jobs and thousands more in supply chains, according to Tata. The plant will have an annual capacity of 40 gigawatt hours, enough to supply half of the UK’s electric vehicle batteries, according to Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps.
Tata said the plant will support its own business, Jaguar Land Rover, which plans to become an all-electric luxury brand by 2030. The plant will also supply batteries to other carmakers and industries.
“Our multibillion-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,” Tata Sons chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran said in a statement.
The UK government welcomed the announcement and said it was part of its ambition to become a global leader in green tecbhnologies and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The government reportedly offered significant financial incentives to attract Tata to invest in the country, but declined to disclose the details.
“This is a huge vote of confidence in the UK economy and our world-leading green industrial revolution,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said during a visit to Land Rover’s headquarters in Warwick.
The investment comes as the UK prepares to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and hybrid cars by 2035. The country also faces increased competition from the European Union, its largest trading partner, after leaving the bloc last year.
Carmaker Stellantis, which owns Vauxhall, Peugeot and other European brands, warned earlier this year that it would struggle to make electric cars in the UK because of the tariffs and regulations imposed by Brexit. The company urged the government to establish battery production in the country to improve its competitiveness.
Tata’s announcement is expected to boost the UK’s battery industry, which currently lags behind other European countries such as Germany and France. The UK has only one major battery plant, operated by Nissan in Sunderland, which produces about 2 gigawatt hours of cells per year.
Tata is one of India’s largest conglomerates, with interests ranging from steel and chemicals to hotels and airlines. It acquired Jaguar Land Rover from Ford in 2008 for $2.3 billion.