As the UK transitions to a net zero carbon emission economy, the automotive industry, in particular, is going through significant change. Sales of internal combustion engines in new cars are to cease in 2030; the only vehicles that consumers can expect to find in showrooms beyond that date are to be electric (EVs).
Hand in hand with that scale-up in demand for EVs is the increasing pressure on the battery technology to power them. One company looking to seize that opportunity and in turn provide a welcomed boost to the regional economy and job market of the North East is Britishvolt, which has identified the UK as the location of its initial manufacturing, development, and R&D capabilities.
Britishvolt is setting up two manufacturing operations – one in the UK and one in North America. The UK operation will provide 30-gigawatt hours of beyond lithium-ion cell technology making it the UK’s first battery gigaplant. Located in Cambois, near Blyth, Northumberland, the site will provide 3,000 highly skilled jobs and another 5,000 in the wider supply chain.
“In the past, the industry was being built upon what's called compliance vehicles,” says Isobel Sheldon OBE, Britishvolt’s Chief Strategy Officer. “Which apart from Nissan and Tesla meant converted internal combustion engine vehicles. The entire cell industry has had to scale up with a one size fits all strategy to capture as many customers as possible. Now, we've moved into ground-up developed EVs and they're selling out really, really quickly.” This means batteries can be manufactured for each brand, thus enabling the right yield and quality for each specific product line – a more bespoke service to meet the demand of the next decade.
Why the UK?
The plant location in Northumberland provides the ideal brownfield site and grid access for its size. There is also an abundance of renewable energy, both offs