Business committee launches inquiry into UK battery production

Credit: The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has launched an inquiry into the supply of batteries for electric vehicle manufacturing, following the collapse of Britishvolt yesterday (January 17).

The inquiry will look at the viability of battery manufacturing in the UK as Chinese-backed Envision’s site in Sunderland is Britain’s only manufacturer.

The government has set 2030 as the date that will see the end of petrol and diesel car manufacturing, but with only one site operational, there are huge concerns that this target is achievable.

Britishvolt was named a “pioneering” firm by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Yesterday, it went into administration after failing to secure sufficient equity investment for both the ongoing research it was undertaking and the development of a £200m site in the Midlands and a £3.8bn gigafactory in the North East of England.

The majority of its 300 employees were made redundant with immediate effect.

The Government had made a £100m commitment to bring forward a £1.7bn sale and leaseback of the Britishvolt property in Blyth, Northumberland, in January 2021. However, it had withdrawn this offer since it found it would be used for day-to-day operational costs.

The launch of the inquiry also mentions BMW’s decision in October to end production of the electric Mini in Oxford.

Committee Chair Darren Jones said: “The future of car manufacturing in the UK is dependent on our ability to make electric vehicles and to be able to export them into the EU.

“That means we need local supplies of electric vehicle batteries – something we’re falling significantly behind on compared to other parts of the world.

“This inquiry will look at what’s holding back the development of electric car batteries in the UK and what needs to be done to protect the thousands of jobs across the country in this important sector.”