Autos

The battery shortage threatening UK’s electric vehicle target


UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a visit to the existing Nissan plant in the country. /Reuters/pool

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a visit to the existing Nissan plant in the country. /Reuters/pool

 

The UK’s target of banning new fossil-fuel cars by 2030 could be at risk because it can’t yet produce the battery power needed to charge the nation’s vehicles. 

The country needs at least 175 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery cell capacity by 2035 to supply around 3 million fully electric vehicles. Analysts estimate the UK is way off the pace, with only 56.9 GWh projected by 2030.

This matters because despite leaving the European Union earlier this year, the bloc is still the UK’s biggest trading partner. And to avoid tariffs on exports of electric vehicles, at least 70 percent of the battery must be made in either the UK or the EU. 

The government has offered $1.4 billion to help the industry, but manufacturers said it’s not enough.

“The UK government needs to wake up and invest in the supply chain,” said Matt Windle, managing director of British sports car maker Lotus. “We’ve got the knowledge, we’ve got the people, we just need the supply chain.”

 

 

While Nissan plans to build a 9GWh battery factory in the northeast of England, competitors are also investing in new plants. Tesla and VW are both building factories in Germany, each with more than four times the capacity of the Nissan plant. 

A spokesperson from the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told Reuters it was “dedicated” to building more factories. 

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“We remain dedicated to securing UK gigafactories and continue to work with investors to progress plans to mass manufacture the batteries needed for the next generation of electric vehicles.”

Source(s): Reuters



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