British Battery Startup Picks Site for $3.5 Billion Debut Plant

Britishvolt Ltd. plans to spend 2.6 billion pounds ($3.5 billion) to build its first battery factory as the U.K. startup seeks to benefit from rising regulatory pressure to phase out cars that run on fossil fuels.

The plant, to be built on the site of a former coal-fired power station in Blyth in northeastern England, will employ as many as 3,000 people, Britishvolt said in a statement. Construction will begin next year and the factory will start churning out lithium-ion batteries by the end of 2023, the company said.

Electric vehicles have become a focal point in Europe, with governments bolstering subsidies to help carmakers recover from the pandemic and comply with stricter emissions standards. Total deliveries of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric models are now rivaling cars powered by diesel.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month announced a 12 billion-pound plan to tackle climate change that includes speeding up the transition toward electric road transport. The U.K. will stop allowing sales of new gasoline and diesel cars from 2030, and require that all new vehicles be fully electric from 2035.

Britishvolt’s planned investment follows announcements from China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. and SVolt Energy Technology Co. to open battery factories in Germany, the home turf of car giants Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG.

Domestic European manufacturers including Swedish startup NorthVolt AB and a joint venture between French automaker PSA Group and energy giant Total SA also have started building plants in a bid to challenge the dominance of Asian producers.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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