March 25, 2023

The majority of Britishvolt’s 300 employees were laid off with immediate effect as the beleaguered electric car battery maker went into administration today.

The company, which planned to build Britain’s largest electric car battery factory in Northumberland, had been on the brink of collapse for months.

EY administrators said Britishvolt was collapsing ‘due to insufficient capital investment’ in both its ongoing research and development of its £3.8bn ‘gigafactory’ in the North East and headquarters in the Midlands.

EY said in a statement that it is exploring options for a sale of the company and its assets, and that affected employees will receive “appropriate support and advice.”

Collapsed: Britishvolt failed to secure investment needed for its ongoing research and development of its ‘gigafactory’ in the North East and its headquarters in the Midlands

Dan Hurd, Co-Manager and Partner at EY-Parthenon, said: ‘Britishvolt presented a significant opportunity to create jobs and employment, while also supporting the development of technology and infrastructure needed to assist in the UK’s energy transition.

“It is disappointing that the company has not been able to deliver on its ambitions and secure the in-house financing it needs to continue.

“Our priorities as Joint Administrators are now to protect the interests of the Company’s creditors, to explore options for a sale of the company and assets, and to support affected employees.”

Just a week ago, Britishvolt said it was in talks with a consortium of investors about the possible sale of a majority stake.

The sale would have provided Britishvolt with enough funding to survive until it received firm orders from automakers for its batteries, but it failed to materialize.

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The company managed to delay its collapse last year after raising several million pounds in emergency funding from mining giant Glencore, one of its main lenders, and by temporarily cutting wages for its staff.

Ben Nelmes, chief executive of green car consultancy New AutoMotive, said the government’s delays in introducing a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate were partly to blame.

Experts Say Delays In Plans To Introduce Zero-Emissions Vehicle (Zev) Are Partly Responsible For Britishvolt'S Collapse

Experts Say Delays In Plans To Introduce Zero-Emissions Vehicle (Zev) Are Partly Responsible For Britishvolt'S Collapse

Experts say delays in plans to introduce zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) are partly responsible for Britishvolt’s collapse

In April ministers said they wanted more than half of all new cars sold in Britain to be fully electric by 2028.

They proposed placing a binding obligation on manufacturers to sell an increasing number of zero-emission vehicles each year ahead of the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles at the end of the decade, but details have yet to be given. published.

“The news of Britishvolt filing for administration is deeply disappointing and a blow to the UK’s transition to cleaner and cheaper transport,” Nelmes said.

Delays in the government’s mandate for Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) have added uncertainty about the rate of EV adoption and the future demand for EV batteries.

“The UK urgently needs a green industrial strategy to prevent the trickling of bad news about the UK car industry from becoming a deluge in a few years’ time.”

Britishvolt’s £3.8 billion gigafactory would employ up to 3,000 people by the time it was fully operational.

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But the group struggled amid delays and the resignation of co-founder and then-boss Orral Nadjari in August. It continued to seek emergency funding to avoid bankruptcy.

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Things got worse after ministers scrapped plans to inject £100m into the company when it discovered the money would be used to keep it afloat rather than building the Blyth factory.

Colin Walker, transport chief at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said the UK risked being bogged down at the starting line unless the government stepped up its game.

“In its net zero strategy, the government said it wanted the UK’s automotive sector to remain at the forefront and capture the jobs of the future,” he said.

“As the world transitions to electric vehicles, building a domestic battery manufacturing sector is critical to achieving this ambition.

‘If not, the UK will no longer be a major car manufacturer – billions of business opportunities will be lost, as will tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs.

“Experts have made it clear that the government must recognize that we are in a global race to build the clean technologies of the future; without action to strengthen sectors such as electric vehicles, the UK risks being stuck at the starting line.”

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