UK battery gigafactory lands £1.7bn of funding: Abrdn and warehouse group Tritax back Britishvolt project
Two of the City’s biggest companies have thrown their weight behind a groundbreaking British electric battery ‘gigafactory’ with £1.7billion of funding.
Financial giant Abrdn and warehouse group Tritax backed the Britishvolt project, which is expected to open in 2024, after it clinched a hefty Government grant.
Britishvolt’s facility in Blyth, Northumberland, will create 3,000 UK jobs and build the fuel cells needed for 300,000 electric car batteries when it hits peak production.
Power project: Britishvolt’s facility in Blyth, Northumberland, will create 3,000 UK jobs and build the fuel cells needed for 300,000 electric car batteries when it hits peak production
Politicians and manufacturers hope the project will make the UK less dependent on foreign imports and breathe fresh life into Britain’s car industry.
It will also play a key role in the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda to boost high-skilled employment in the regions.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: ‘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.’
A ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars comes into force in 2030, piling pressure on UK manufacturers to open their own facilities.
Britishvolt’s funding comes two months after Johnson Matthey, which makes an estimated one-in-three car catalytic converters worldwide, ditched its own electric battery division. Johnson Matthey developed a successful technology, but said it would not be profitable to continue because it faced too much foreign competition.
The electric battery market is concentrated in Asia, including in China and Korea.
Britishvolt’s £3.8billion project has already received around half the funding it needs to take it to completion. Private investors and companies including Glencore stumped up £100m in the early stages.
The Government’s grant – from the Automotive Transformation Fund – is thought to have been worth another £100million.
Abrdn and Tritax’s investment was conditional on the company receiving this state funding.
Britishvolt has indicated there will be a number of announcements in the coming weeks that will include agreements with future customers.
It is also keen to supply European car makers, as well as those in Britain. Nissan and its partner Envision have already unveiled plans to build an electric car battery plant in Sunderland but Britishvolt’s will be much bigger.
James Dunlop, chief executive of Tritax, said they and Abrdn ‘are proud to be working alongside Britishvolt, the Government and a world-class professional team to unlock a greener future for UK plc’.