The UK government-backed EV battery start-up Britishvolt is this week facing the threat of collapse after being denied a £30 million advance in funding.
According to numerous reports from British outlets including BBC, The Guardian, and Financial Times, quoting people familiar with the matter, Britishvolt has begun preparing to appoint administrators as the company’s money runs out.
The UK government has championed Britishvolt and its efforts to build homegrown battery gigafactories and had committed £100 million to help build a factory in the north-east of England.
Set to be located at the former Blyth coal-fired power station in Northumberland, the UK government and Britishvolt announced in early 2022 an in-principle offer of government funding through the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) for the EV battery gigafactory.
However, reports early this week suggest that the government turned down requests from Britishvolt over the weekend to draw down nearly a third of that funding.
Britishvolt has struggled to find investors for the £3.8 billion project, which has already been delayed several times. This, despite its supposed government backing and a March 2022 partnership with luxury British carmaker Aston Martin.
In recent months, Britishvolt has been holding urgent talks in an effort to secure funds to help it stay afloat and avoid the potential loss of almost 300 jobs.
As it currently stands, speculation and unnamed sources lead us to believe that there are options to try and find a last-minute rescuer, with administration a possible course later in the week if those talks fail.
It is thought that Britishvolt has cash reserves left enough to last a few weeks, at most, without any further support.
However, a report from BBC late on Tuesday suggests that the company has secured additional funding to avert the collapse. No official comment has been made by Britishvolt to confirm this speculation.
It will be a major blow to the UK’s efforts to build up its own local EV supply chain if Britishvolt fails to secure further funding.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.