Britishvolt announcement described as a ‘pivotal moment’
The Advanced Propulsion Centre’s (APC) CEO, Ian Constance, has described today’s confirmation of government support for the Britishvolt gigafactory through the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) as a huge boost to UK electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing.
Speaking following today’s (Friday 21 January 2022) announcement, he praised the Britishvolt team for seizing the opportunities in the UK automotive supply chain.
“The support from government for the Britishvolt gigafactory sends a strong signal about the importance of developments like this to UK green growth and the creation of highly-skilled jobs.
“The UK offers an extremely competitive landscape for investment in the full research, development and manufacturing ecosystem for electric vehicle technologies and this has been recognised by Britishvolt.
“Their commitment to this gigafactory development has already had a transformative impact in awakening the battery supply chain sector to opportunities in the UK.”
The APC manage the ATF on behalf of the UK government and have been working with the team at Britishvolt in their bid to secure ATF support for their battery manufacturing plant in Northumberland, which is expected to provide up to a third of the UK’s total demand, as APC’s Automotive Transformation Director, Julian Hetherington, explains:
“Our insight, based on our unique relationships with vehicle manufacturers, shows that by 2030 the UK will need over 90GWh per annum of batteries for cars and light commercials alone and represents over 11% of the total demand across Europe.
“We have a vibrant and diverse industry, and Britishvolt’s significant investment in R&D and manufacturing will help establish competitive supply chains and satisfy this burgeoning demand – and in doing so will create thousands of highly-skilled, green jobs, regenerating a site that was previously home to the UK’s largest coal-fired power station.
“This is true transformation, unlocked by the government’s commitment to support green growth and levelling-up.”
This is a significant point, as the batteries produced by Britishvolt will not only work towards fulfilling the UK demand for electric vehicle production, but will also boost businesses involved in the UK EV supply chain, meaning the impacts will be felt far wider.
Britishvolt estimate the project will create around 3,000 highly-skilled jobs with another 5,000 in the wider supply chain.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said:
“Britishvolt’s plan to build a new gigafactory in Northumberland is a strong testament to the skilled workers of the North East and the UK’s place at the helm of the global green industrial revolution.
“Backed by government and private sector investment, this new battery factory will boost the production of electric vehicles in the UK, whilst levelling up opportunity and bringing thousands of new highly-skilled jobs to communities in our industrial heartlands.”
Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said:
“Today’s news is a major boost for Britain and a resounding vote of confidence in the North East economy.
“Britishvolt’s planned gigafactory will not only enable the UK to fully capture the benefits of a booming electric vehicle market, but will bring thousands of highly-skilled, well-paid jobs to the North East.
“In this global race between countries to secure vital battery production, this government is proud to make the investment necessary to ensure UK’s retains its place as one of the best locations in the world for auto manufacturing.”
It’s another landmark for Britishvolt, who also announced today a partnership with Tritax and abrdn in order to unlock a further £1.7-2bn in private funding.
Peter Rolton, Britishvolt Executive Chairman, said:
“This announcement is a major step in putting the UK at the forefront of the global energy transition, unlocking huge private sector investment that will develop the technology and skills required for Britain to play its part in the next industrial revolution.
The news is the first step in creating a commercialised battery ecosystem, that perfectly aligns with the existing R&D ecosystem. Britishvolt will be the anchor for attracting further sections of the supply chain, be it refining or recycling, to co-locate on the Britishvolt site. This not only shortens supply chains but also allows for partners to access the abundance of renewable energy on site to truly power low carbon, sustainable battery production.
It will also allow us to catapult our unique tailormade business proposition on a global scale, with sites already selected for development in other countries.
I’m especially proud that this is such a major boost for Northumberland – the county of my birth – bringing around 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs and another 5,000-plus indirect wider supply chain roles into the region.
This is a truly historic day and marks the start of a truly exciting move towards a low carbon future. One with Britishvolt batteries at the very centre of that strategy.”
Below, Julian Hetherington shares exactly why the Britishvolt development is so important to the UK automotive industry.