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EV Battery Production Could Go Flat If Logistics Land Supply Powers Down


Gigafactory supply chains will generate 50M SF extra demand for industrial and warehouse space by 2040, requiring up to 2,500 acres of development land with 150MVA power connections.

But without that additional well-powered land, the drive for rapid electric vehicle growth could fall flat.

The projections come in Savills’ The Rise of Gigafactories report, which assumes the UK government hits its target of zero emission road transport by 2035.

Gigafactories — monster factories that produce lithium-ion batteries, primarily for electric vehicles — are still in their infancy in the UK with plans in early stages for both Northumberland and the West Midlands.

UK projections are based on evidence from the U.S., including data from Tesla’s 1.9M SF Nevada plant.

“With land values for prime industrial and logistics development sites rising by 32% in the past year, affordable land remains hard to come by," Savills Head of Logistics Research Kevin Mofid said. "For this reason, the regions most likely to see gigafactories locate are those markets where the public sector partners can help by delivering space for regeneration purposes. This is why areas like the North East and South Wales seem very attractive to battery producers.” 

However, Savills research showed that if a gigafactory in South Wales was to be built, the impact on the supply chain could be unsustainable. In South Wales total warehouse stock would need to increase by as much as 40% to accommodate demand from gigafactory supply chains.

Savills said that developers and landowners should be considering their options now, as any future gigafactory development presents an opportunity in these key locations where demand is set to rise dramatically as battery production ramps up.

UK gigafactory plans are restricted to two sites, so far. Public sector-led proposals for a 4.5M SF venture in Coventry hope to tap into a £500M government funding pot available for a new UK gigafactory. Coventry and Regional City Airports will now prepare a business case and submit it to the UK government, and talks with car manufacturers and battery specialists are already in progress.

The UK’s first gigafactory was originally planned for a site in South Wales but it has since migrated to a location in Northumbria, close to the Scottish border.

Britishvolt announced in December 2020 that it was starting construction work on the new £2.6B gigafactory at Blyth, with the intention of producing lithium-ion batteries by the end of 2023. It could produce over 300,000 batteries a year.