Electric vehicle battery ‘gigafactory’ to be explored by Scottish Labour

A giant factory to supply batteries for electric vehicles should be considered for Scotland, Scottish Labour announced today.

The “gigafactory” proposal is among measures to accelerate the switch to electric vehicles north of the Border included in the party’s election manifesto launched by leader Anas Sarwar.

He said Scottish Labour would “revolutionise the delivery of electric cars in Scotland”.

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Pledges include increasing interest-free government loans over the next two years to help less affluent households to buy them.

Electric car maker Tesla's gigafactory in Nevada employs 7,000 people. Picture: Tesla

The manifesto also stated: “We will explore the possibility of siting a gigafactory in Scotland to build the batteries for electric vehicles and accelerate the creation of charging points, including in less well-served areas and for owners who do not have access to a residential charger.”

The move follows Labour’s shadow business secretary Ed Miliband south of the Border calling last month for three gigafactories to be built in Britain by 2025 as part of an “electric vehicle revolution in every part of the country”.

He said gigafactories were critical for Britain’s future car production post-Brexit: “We need a strong domestic battery supply chain to remain competitive and to build on our position as a leading electric vehicle producer.”

The SNP has already pledged to “phase out the need” for new diesel and petrol cars by 2030.

It also aims to remove diesel buses from service by 2023 and spend £120 million on zero-emission buses, such as electric.

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The Scottish Conservatives have pledged a nationwide network of chargers by 2025, with a new scheme to install them outside flats.

The Scottish Greens would ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2026.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats would also expand car-sharing clubs to increase access to electric vehicles.

The publication of Scottish Labour’s plans were applauded by the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland.

Chief operating officer Laura Robinson said: "EVA Scotland wants to position Scotland at the forefront of e-mobility innovation and ambition, so we wholeheartedly welcome the manifesto commitments.

"The electric vehicle revolution represents one of the biggest shifts in consumer behaviour in our generation, but significant steps are needed to accelerate change.

"Interest-free government loans, the siting a gigafactory in Scotland to build the batteries for electric vehicles, and accelerating the creation of charging points are all positive steps on the journey to adopting electric."

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