UK industry calls for more battery gigafactories

UK industry calls for more battery gigafactories

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) has published a report calling for the UK to commit to 60GWh of battery gigafactories alongside the 30GWh BritishVolt plant being planned, as well as a fuel cell factory.

This comes ahead of an announcement by Nissan to expand its battery factory in Sunderland later this week that may provide one of the five. As a reference, the Tesla plant in Berlin is planning to deliver 100GWh, while NorthVolt in Sweden has expanded its capacity from 40 to 60GWh.

This level of production of cells and battery packs would require significant production of anode and cathode materials and precursors, as well as battery management systems.

The UK report commissioned by SMMT was written by Public First and sets out a series of policy proposals to 2030. The strategy calls for a new ‘Build Back Better Fund’ to support industry transformation, not just in automotive but across other manufacturing sectors, to revolutionise production lines and overcome some of the areas where the UK lags.

The report calls for a binding target of 60 GWh of battery capacity be built by 2030. These gigafactories would give  manufacturers the capability to produce up to one million electric vehicles a year

The report also calls for the installation of at least 2.3 million charging points nationwide before the end of the decade. This is driving support for manufacturers such as Bytesnap’s EV charger technology division Versinetic.

This would help create 40,000 highly skilled jobs by 2030, says the SMMT. Failing to do this would cost the industry 90,000 jobs.

“The next few years represent a critical period for the sector,” said Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of SMMT. “The pace of technological change is accelerating and the competition more ferocious. The Government has made clear its support for the sector in its negotiations with Europe, so now is the time to go full throttle and take bold action to support one of Britain’s most important industries.

The 12 policy proposals also include supporting the development of a fuel cell gigafactory with 2GWh capacity to support cars, heavier vehicles and rail units by 2030, and to fund trial and demonstration projects to explore the use of hydrogen during manufacturing.

Alongside the plan for 2.3 million public charging points to be in place by 2030, the report calls for industry to develop an ambitious, forward looking trade strategy.

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