Britishvolt secures £40m investment for EV battery factory

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Britishvolt has gained new investment worth £40m from Glencore in the latest stage of its plans to build one of the UK’s only large-scale battery factories.

The company is aiming to treble its funding with £200m in a third funding round, with Glencore serving as the anchor investor. Glencore has already invested millions of pounds in Britishvolt in earlier funding rounds that valued the battery company at more than £740m.

The battery factory project is seen as critical for the UK automotive industry as it moves away from internal combustion engines and embraces battery electric vehicles.

Currently, global battery supplies are dominated by manufacturers in China, Japan and South Korea, but both Europe and the US are looking to invest in new domestic capacity.

To date, the UK government has backed the Britishvolt project with £100m from its automotive transformation fund, which aims to support the UK’s car industry. Britishvolt is developing the battery technology before a factory is built at the government-funded UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry.

The company has already carried out preparatory work on its site near Blyth in Northumberland, with construction due to start in April.

To date, four automotive manufacturers have signed memorandums of understanding with Britishvolt which, according to the company, represents a cumulative demand for batteries with 7 gigawatt hours of capacity by 2024 and 2025, a significant portion of the 30GWh it is planning to build annually.

According to Kasra Pezeshki, Britishvolt’s chief investment officer, “We are increasingly excited by the number of potential growth and investment opportunities available to the business. Our interactions with the capital markets and customers show that demand for low-carbon, responsibly manufactured batteries is rapidly growing day by day.”

The UK has only one other firm commitment to build batteries in the country which is a major expansion of Envision’s plant in Sunderland that was built to serve the Japanese carmaker Nissan’s factory.

However, additional projects in Coventry and Somerset are also currently seeking investors.