Fortescue Future Industries says it is significantly expanding its battery and electric powertrain production operations in the UK with the announcement of an additional state-of-the-art facility in Oxfordshire.
Fortescue Chairman, Andrew Forrest, said the expansion is part of Fortescue’s commitment to grow its British presence through the recent integration of British manufacturers WAE (formerly Williams Advanced Engineering).
“With Fortescue’s investment, British engineering will be at the cutting edge of the green energy economy with WAE’s battery systems providing world leading technology to the entire global industrial sector,” Dr Forrest said.
Following entry-into-force of the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement, Fortescue will open a new state-of-the-art site in Banbury, Oxfordshire, significantly expanding its UK manufacturing capability, supplying advanced batteries and electric powertrains globally.
The new location will be focused on production of a wide range of zero-emission products for the off-road sector including trucks and trains. It will form part of a new global business aimed at driving decarbonisation in all fields of economic activity, while building sovereign capabilities in emerging technology.
The factory will cover over 13,500 sq.m in total and employ over 120 highly-skilled engineers, technicians, apprentices and graduates, with recruitment for the industrialisation program starting now, FFI said.
The integration follows Fortescue gearing up to meet growing global demand for the development, manufacture and supply of advanced electrification technology solutions to the off-highway sector.
The new Banbury facility will operate alongside Fortescue’s other Oxfordshire facilities including the Kidlington factory, which will open later this year. The Banbury site will be a purpose-built facility focusing primarily on manufacturing of heavy industry, electric/zero-emission powertrain systems. It will offer automated assembly for battery modules and packs, assembly of power conversion and power systems, as well as truck and train production support.
The first prototype build is targeted for July/August 2023 with the first mining haul truck module due for completion in August 2023.
The site will officially open in 2024 and will create job opportunities across all levels, including apprentices and graduates, acting as showcases for a future rollout by WAE of further global high-tech manufacturing hubs.