Britishvolt Crash Flattens UK’s BEV Hopes

The UK’s hopes of leading the way in BEV development has hit the buffers with the collapse of its promised largest automotive battery plant provider Britishvolt.

The company, which promised to build an ambitious £3.8Bn ($4.64Bn) battery factory in the Port of Blyth in Northumberland, has been forced into administration after running out of funds. This was the result of the UK government refusing last year to advance the start-up £30M of a £100M support package because it had failed to hit agreed construction milestones.

Now many pundits in the industry are suggesting the government made promises of funds to a start-up company with no track record in creating battery production plants to boost the impression that it is advancing its “levelling up” manifesto pledge for the deprived areas of the northern UK. Others also point to the “Brexit” drag on the nation’s economy, expected to depress its GDP of between 4%-5% over the next five years, being responsible for dissuading potential heavyweight investors from backing the project.


The companies collapse now ends the prospect of creating 3,000 skilled jobs in the economically struggling area and with the majority of its existing 300 staff have been laid off.

While the European Union has seen the scheduling or construction of 35 BEV battery plants, the UK has just one Chinese-owned facility next to the Nissan factory in Sunderland. The BBC reports the auditors from EY, which were appointed joint administrators, described the move as “disappointing” and said all impacted staff were being offered support. Britishvolt had also planned to open a new battery development center at Hams Hall in Warwickshire.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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