Tata Group’s global battery business, Agratas, announced on Wednesday it has chosen Somerset to build its planned 40-gigawatt-hour UK battery gigafactory, Kallanish reports.

The company has purchased land at the Gravity Smart Campus near Bridgwater, Somerset, to house its first-ever battery facility. The £4 billion ($5.05 billion) project was unveiled last year by Tata, Agratas and the UK government as a new sign of hope for the domestic battery and automotive industries.

Agratas plans to start battery production in 2026. Construction will be completed in phases, the firm says, noting it has started preliminary works on the site. Piling to establish the factory’s foundation is set to start in spring.

Chief executive Tom Flack says Agratas is taking a “community-first approach” and will be holding an event in the coming weeks for local residents to learn more about the company and meet its team. “We care deeply about the communities we operate in, so it’s imperative to us that we work with, and listen to, our new neighbours as we build our factory in Somerset,” he adds, in a statement.

The gigafactory is expected to create up to 4,000 new high-skilled green tech jobs in the area, with additional supply chain synergies anticipated. It will initially supply batteries to JLR and Tata Motors electric cars, though Agratas also plans to produce batteries for two-wheelers and commercial vehicles, as well as commercial energy storage solutions. 

The Somerset Council welcomed the plans, which could make the area the UK’s biggest EV battery producer. Once fully operational, the plant is expected to meet demand from around 500,000 passenger vehicles. “This is momentous for the county, its economy and for future generations,” comments Councillor Bill Revans. “It’s about seizing an incredible opportunity to be at the heart of the UK’s green energy industry … Agratas’ huge investment in the county has the potential to transform the local and regional economy.”

Echoing the comments, Mike Hawes, ceo of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), adds that “producing batteries in Britain is critical to the next generation of UK automotive manufacturing.”

The project, subject to a final investment decision, is believed to benefit from a flexible planning process due to its location in a dedicated smart campus, which also gives it access to tax incentives, renewable power supply and transport links. In 2022, the Somerset Council, formerly Sedgemoor District Council, adopted the so-called Gravity Local Development Order – a form of automatic planning consent. That means that “proposals that comply with the parameters and conditions of the Gravity LDO will not require any formal application for planning permission, being approved through a bespoke compliance process,” according to Gravity.