India’s Tata is expected to announce on Wednesday that it has chosen Britain to build an electric vehicle battery factory, a person familiar with the matter said, a victory for the Indian auto industry amid fierce global competition.
Tata has been choosing between Somerset in southwest England and a site in Spain to supply a new range of electric Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles. A government spokesman declined to comment on ongoing business talks, while Tata declined to comment on the report. Bloomberg News first reported on Tuesday that the plant would be announced this week.
Speculation has swirled for months about where Tata Group, a conglomerate with interests in software, steel, cars and airlines, would build the factory.
The plant would be a major win for the UK, which is trying to catch up in the global race to build electric vehicle (EV) battery capacity locally, crucial for automakers that rely on building heavy-duty batteries close to car factories .
Britain has expressed concern over the US Inflation Cut Bill, which promises hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to green industries, with Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt saying the British government does not have significant funds for similar measures.
Indigenous battery production will also help British carmakers comply with post-Brexit trade rules that require them to source more electric car components locally to avoid tariffs on U.K.-EU trade from 2024.
The government has previously said it was in talks with the European Union to ease the rules, after auto giant Stellantis warned it would be forced to close factories and lose thousands of jobs if it faced tariffs.
The BBC said the government would provide subsidies worth hundreds of millions of pounds to Tata.
Darren Jones, chairman of the parliamentary business committee, said: “Jaguar Land Rover’s decision to invest in battery production in the UK is very welcome. However, we would like to reflect on the subsidy package needed to secure this decision.”
Tata’s choice of the UK would also provide a boost for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government, which has pledged to grow the economy and has outlined a series of net-zero targets, including a ban on the sale of new petrol and gasoline from 2030. Diesel cars.
The proposed site is owned by Salamanca Group, a privately held commercial banking operation. The group had no comment when contacted by Reuters.
First published date: Jul 19, 2023 08:01 AM EST