An electric car plugged into an EV charging point (John Walton:PA)An electric car plugged into an EV charging point (John Walton:PA)


EV battery production must be sparked to save thousands of jobs, MPs warn

  • Business and trade committee urges action to prevent decline of UK car industry
  • MPs say UK could become ‘front runner’ in building ‘sustainable and ethical batteries’
  • Report warns of insufficient capacity to satisfy demand for batteries
  • 160,000 jobs could be lost, says business and trade committee chairman
  • Battery Strategy to be published this week by the government

Time 7:30 am, November 21, 2023

Thousands of jobs in the UK car industry are at risk if EV battery production isn’t encouraged and stimulated.

That’s the warning by a report from the cross-party business and trade committee, which is urging for the problem to be addressed to prevent a decline of the sector.

MPs on the committee say the UK could become a ‘front runner’ in building ‘sustainable and ethical batteries’.

Much of the world’s gigafactories, which produce the batteries, are in China.

The report says: ‘The UK faces a gigafactory gap because of insufficient domestic manufacturing capacity to satisfy UK industry’s demand for batteries.

‘Satisfying demand from the UK’s automotive industry and other sectors will require 100GWh (gigawatt hours) of battery manufacturing capacity by 2030.

‘That requirement will increase to 200GWh by 2040.’

The UK’s only existing gigafactory, near Nissan’s car factory in Sunderland, has less than 2GWh of capacity.

‘At best, announced plans satisfy a little over half the capacity the nation needs by 2030,’ the report added.

The government has told the committee it plans to publish an Advanced Manufacturing Plan and a Battery Strategy this week.

Labour MP Liam Byrne, who chairs the committee, said: ‘Power was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution and it will be at the heart of the green industrial revolution.

‘But right now, the UK is on course to secure barely half of the electric battery capacity needed by the domestic car industry alone.

‘Unless we fix this fast, we risk the industry simply relocating to [continental] Europe or the US or becoming reliant on imports from China and elsewhere.

‘That imperils 160,000 jobs and a jewel in the UK’s industrial crown. Now is the time to act.’

A Department for Business and Trade spokesperson said: ‘In the past few months, the government has secured a £4bn investment from Tata in a new gigafactory and £600m to build the next generation of electric Minis.

‘This comes on top of a previous £1bn investment in an electric vehicle hub in Sunderland by Nissan and their battery supplier AESC.

‘Taken together, these major investments demonstrate that our plan for the automotive industry is working and continuing to deliver results.

‘Later this week, we will publish a wide-ranging Advanced Manufacturing Plan and the UK’s first Battery Strategy, both of which will ensure we continue to place the UK at the forefront of global supply chains.’

Gigafactory start-up Britishvolt, which owned a site in Northumberland, went bust in January after running out of money.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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