UK’s first gigafactory makes redundancies as rescue talks fail

A total of 300 jobs are at risk after Britishvolt, the firm that was setting up the first major factory producing batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), is set to enter administration. It is a significant blow to the UK’s electric vehicle (EV) rollout. The start-up had been planning to set up the plant in Blyth, Northumberland, and was viewed as a key component of the UK’s drive to phase out petrol and diesel cars.

But on Tuesday, lawyers for the company filed a notice of its intention to appoint administrators with the insolvency court. Staff were informed around noon today that efforts to rescue the firm had collapsed. understands that EY is handling the insolvency and administration. The battery firm, which was backed by mining giant Glencore, managed to dodge an initial collapse in November after receiving a funding boost.

Staff were asked to take pay cuts to keep the business up-and-running at the time. The company was also set to get a £100 million cash injection to help develop a thriving EV industry in the UK, but failed to do so when it made an attempt in November.

But, it was reportedly rescued by a silent investor. Despite this blow, the UK’s dreams of setting up a gigaplant at the Blyth site are unlikely to be dead in the water.

A market analyst, speaking exclusively to under the condition of anonymity, previously said: ‘In light of what is going on…Tesla is potentially looking at the site, multiple people are looking at the site.

“If you have got the crown jewels for a gigafactory, it is inevitable that companies will be looking to buy it. It is understood in the market that, since the depreciation of the pound and the dollar, US private equity is starting to look at the business and various technologies.”

Dan Hurd, Joint Administrator and Partner at EY, said the firm had offered “a significant opportunity to create jobs and employment, as well as support the development of technology and infrastructure needed to help with the UK’s energy transition”.

He added that “it is disappointing that the company has been unable to fulfill its ambitions and secure the equity funding needed to continue”, the BBC reports.

The plant was set to cost around £3.8 million and both industry and Government are reportedly confident the plant will eventually be built soon, no matter who the owner is.

Among those interested could even be the Tesla CEO and the world’s most famous billionaire Elon Musk.

Ben Kilbey, who was Britishvolt’s director of communications until today, previously told “It’s like having the best house on the street, getting constant attention. We remain determined and resolute to deliver the Britishvolt Gigaplant for the people of Northumberland and indeed the people of the UK.”

He added: “Tesla coming to the UK would be a huge boost for the country and its roadmap for electrification. If we look at recent intelligence from the Faraday Institution, the UK will need around 100GWh [200GWh by 2040] of battery output in the UK by 2030 to satisfy demand.

“A brand like Tesla coming to the UK would boost employment and show the world that the country is open for business post-Brexit. Britishvolt would love to see companies such as Tesla joining the race to build UK Gigaplants. At full capacity, Britishvolt will deliver around 40GWh, towards the end of the decade. That means there’s another 60GWh [by 2030] of capacity required.”

Aston Martin’s former head honcho Andy Palmer, who chairs a Slovakian business called InoBat, has also previously been tipped to get involved. He reportedly held talks with EY earlier this month amid speculation that the firm would collapse.

InoBat had earmarked another British site at Teesside as one of two locations to build an EV battery-producing factory, but may have pricked its ears up after hearing the news of Britishvotl’s insolvency. is contacting EY and Britishvolt for comment.

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