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Tata in Talks with Startups to Technically Support its UK Battery Project Partnership

CIO Insider Team | Monday, 21 August, 2023

To acquire technical expertise for its four billion pounds ($5.1 billion) UK battery project, which it plans to begin mass production in 2026, Tata Sons is in talks with a number of startups.

“If you look at the startups that are working in this space, they are at the forefront of technology,” Tata Motors Group Chief Financial Officer P.B. Balaji said in an interview in Mumbai. “It’s a melange of opportunities. We are speaking to a host of them,” he said.

According to Balaji, the partnerships for the battery facility, which can produce cells for at least 500,000 vehicles annually, might vary from a joint venture and knowledge exchange to experimentation and licensing agreements.

Tata intends to have partners across “the whole pathway from cell chemistry to manufacturing to industrialization,” he said.

The conglomerate is in talks with a number of businesses involved in various phases of the value chain, including R&D, manufacturing innovation, and refining, and it hopes to announce its decision soon after reducing the field of possibilities.

Tata’s main demand from the UK was securing competitive cost and availability of green power on a continuous basis and negotiating that took time, Balaji said.

Tata's initiative joins a number of automakers, including Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Stellantis NV, and Nissan Motor Co., who have primarily chosen to collaborate with established battery manufacturers in order to scale up Europe's battery supply. In June, Volkswagen AG, which is building 240 gigawatt hours of capacity in the area, stated that it was having trouble obtaining enough experienced laborers, machinery, and essential minerals.

The factory is good news for the UK's challenged auto industry, which has been hurt by both the transition to electric vehicles and the effects of Brexit. After the global semiconductor shortage and the closure of several factories, the UK manufactured 775,000 fewer automobiles last year than it did in 1965, a decrease in output.

The project that will supply 40 gigawatt hours of batteries with deliveries beginning in 2026 has as its anchor customers Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc. and Tata Motors, a market leader in India for electric vehicles. Over the next five years, JLR intends to spend £15 billion on the development of electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology.

According to Balaji, Tata's major demand to the UK was to guarantee competitive prices and continuing access to green power. Balaji added that negotiating this requirement required time. To make the power affordable, the UK government changed taxes, including grid and connection fees.

Tata’s main demand from the UK was securing competitive cost and availability of green power on a continuous basis and negotiating that took time, Balaji said. The UK government adjusted taxes, including grid and connection charges, to make the power competitively priced.

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