The modernisation of the UK automotive sector received a welcome boost from news that Recharge Industries, an Australia-based start-up, has finalised a deal with the administrators of Britishvolt to take over the company.
Britishvolt had been set to build a battery gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland at a cost of £3.8 billion. In addition to employing around 3,000 people, the factory would have supplied many of the batteries that the UK automotive sector will need to build battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Unfortunately, despite the UK Government approving £100 million in conditional financing, Britishvolt failed to attract the necessary investment and collapsed when it ran out of funding.
Nevertheless, while Britishvolt needed to develop its own battery technology, Recharge says it can bypass this stage thanks to its relationship with C4V, an American-based developer of lithium-ion battery technology. This means a new UK factory could be producing batteries from Australian minerals using American technology.
Due to the heavy and bulky nature of batteries for electric vehicles, domestic production is seen as being key to assuring the future of UK car production. The Faraday Institution estimates that by 2040, the UK will need 10 gigafactories, which is a term used to describe manufacturing facilities that can produce batteries in high volumes.
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