Jaguar Land Rover owner set to pick UK for EV battery plant -BBC

LONDON (Reuters) -Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motors is set to pick Britain for a multi-billion pound electric car battery plant, the BBC reported, saying the Indian firm would choose it over Spain.

Tata’s boss is expected to fly to London next week to finalise the deal to build the battery factory, which could employ 9,000 people in Somerset, southwest England, the BBC report added, without citing sources.

The British government’s business department declined to comment on Wednesday’s BBC report. Tata Motors and its parent Tata Sons did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

A decision by Tata to choose Britain over Spain would represent a major win for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who is under pressure to make the country more attractive to carmakers.

Finance minister Jeremy Hunt last week hinted at a development on Britain’s EV battery making capacity, saying “watch this space” when asked about it at an event.

Such an investment would also give a boost to the British car industry, days after major automakers including Vauxhall owner Stellantis and Ford warned that looming post-Brexit trade rules risked making it unviable.

Britain has fallen behind in the global race to build local battery capacity, threatening the future of its electric vehicle (EV) sector which requires heavy batteries to be built near car manufacturing plants.

A lack of a home-grown battery sector would also risk tariffs on British cars under post-Brexit rules that are due to come into force from next year.

(Reporting by William James and Alistair Smout in London, Varun Hebbalalu in Bengaluru; Writing by Muvija M; Editing by Sarah Young and Alexander Smith)