UK battery manufacturer Britishvolt enters administration

It has been reported across various UK media outlets that battery startup Britishvolt will enter administration today. The company had been looking for rescue bids from several investors, including a ‘majority sale’ of the business, but had failed to reach an agreement.

Britishvolt had planned to create a £3.8 billion ($4.66 billion) ‘gigavolt’ battery production plant in the north-east region of the UK. Manufacturing 30 GWh of battery packs per year, the plant would have supplied sufficient batteries for about 300,000 electric vehicles. It would have also created about 3,000 jobs.

Construction of the plant, largely related to ground preparation, had already started. But the work was put on hold in late 2022 as the company focused on securing additional investment.

The British government had pledged to fund the project up to £1.7 billion, but that amount was never secured. Britishvolt then went on to ask the government for a portion of £100 million pledged to the project, but three requests for successively smaller amounts were each turned down due to the lack of private investment and uncertainty that the factory would reach fruition.

In October, the company received a further £5 million from mining company Glencore to cover day-to-day operating costs. The mining company had a deal with Britishvolt to supply cobalt to the plant.

The Britishvolt factory was described by Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck, where the factory would be built, as being “the crown jewel of the government’s levelling up policy in the north east”.

Launched in 2020 to great fanfare, Britishvolt initially spent big on PR and related promotional activities. But a lack of investors and rising costs, in part due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine causing spikes in energy and raw materials prices, saw the price of completing the project spiral upwards over the ensuing years.

Bringing in the administrators will see most of the 300 employees at Britishvolt made redundant.

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