What will Britishvolt’s collapse mean for UK’s EV future?

A government-backed EV battery technology company went bust – what does the industry think about it?

Big Zero Report 2022

Britishvolt, the UK’s only homegrown electric vehicle (EV) battery company has filed for administration, laying off most of its 300 workers.

The company had been backed by the government and praised by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said the development of a gigafactory would boost the production of EVs in the UK.

But how will this collapse affect the UK’s ambition to ban sales of combustion engine cars by 2030 and transition to cleaner transport?

ELN has approached the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for comment – a spokesperson told us: “As part of our efforts to see British companies succeed in the industry, we offered significant support to Britishvolt through the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) on the condition that key milestones – including private sector investment commitments – were met.

“We remained hopeful that Britishvolt would find a suitable investor and are disappointed to hear that this has not been possible, and therefore no ATF grant has been paid out. Our thoughts are with the company’s employees and their families at this time and we stand ready to support those affected.

“The UK is one of the best locations in the world for automotive manufacturing, and we want to ensure the best outcome for the site. We will work closely with the local authority and potential investors to achieve this, as part of our commitment to boost homegrown electric car battery production, level up and advance towards a greener future.”

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “Today’s news is a blow, especially for Britishvolt’s 300 employees, but the UK’s promise as an EV battery production location remains, with strong demand, a skilled workforce, and attractive manufacturing sites, all providing a compelling investment proposition.”

In response to the news, Frank Gordon, Director of Policy at the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology, said: “The news that Britishvolt has filed for administration is a real shame – this highlights the need for an effective UK industrial strategy and supply chain support (similar to the US Inflation Reduction Act) to capture the huge opportunities of net zero.

Chris Skidmore’s Net Zero Review report made clear the opportunities and imperative of doing so just last week.”

Colin Walker, a Transport Analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit said: “Experts have been clear that the government needs to recognise that we are in a global race to build the clean technologies of the future; without action to bolster sectors like EVs, the UK risks being stuck on the starting line.”

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