Britishvolt, a company that used to make batteries but is no longer in business, has been bought by the Australian company Recharge Industries.
Britishvolt wanted to build a £4bn battery plant near the Port of Blyth in Northumberland, but it failed last month because it ran out of money.
It failed because it didn’t have enough experience with batteries, proven technology, customers, or money.
Recharge Industries is a new company that hasn’t made many things before. It has a lot in common with the first company.
The Australian company is owned and run by an investment fund called Scale Facilitation, which is based in New York.
David Collard, the Australian head of the fund, told the BBC, “What we bring is proven technology.”
“It has been approved by the US defense industry, and the UK navy is already getting it through a subcontractor.”
The new owners will keep the Britishvolt name, but their plans for the future are very different.
The company plans to start by focusing on batteries to store energy and hopes to have these products on the market by the end of 2025.
The company plans to make batteries for fast sports cars after that.
It looks like it will be many years before the UK will have a plant that can make batteries for large car companies.
But does Mr. Collard understand why many people in government and the auto industry are worried that it won’t meet the needs of the UK auto industry without the help of big companies like Ford, GM, JLR, and BMW?
“Before they got big, they all had to start somewhere. We’re growing quickly and have been successful every step of the way “he said.
Recharge Industries has big plans, for sure. It plans to build a similar plant in Mr. Collard’s hometown of Geelong, which is near Melbourne. He has spent time getting to know the leaders of both the government and the opposition.
He admitted that he hadn’t made as many connections in the UK yet, but he had talked to the people who owned the Northumberland site.
“I worked with Northumberland County Council for a long time. They want a gigafactory and what’s best for their people “he said.
Mr. Collard admitted that he might not be the best person to give that message.
“Although I don’t think I’m the best candidate to lead this initiative, the administrators had a legal obligation to maximize returns for creditors. But I do believe that they are concerned about the destiny of humanity.”
The deal comes just a few days after Michael Gove, who is in charge of leveling up, said that Blyth would get £20.7 million in funding.
EY, which was in charge of running Britishvolt, said that the company had been sold for an amount that was not made public. As part of the deal, the company‘s remaining employees moved to Recharge.
“The sale of the business will help fund the development of technology and infrastructure needed for the UK’s energy transition,” it said.
More than 200 jobs were lost when Britishvolt went out of business. This was seen as a blow to the government’s “leveling up” plan, which was started by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The government had offered £100 million to the former owners of Britishvolt if they reached certain building goals.
Mr. Collard stated that while he would be content to accept funding from the government, he desired the backing of numerous politicians. Everyone will accept free money, but what we really need is bipartisan support, which is something that both Australia and the US provide.
He said that the site was “shovel ready,” but that the first shovel wouldn’t be used there for six to twelve months.
In the end, he hopes that the site will create up to 8,000 jobs on-site and in the supply chain.
That would be great for the region and the UK economy, but it doesn’t look like this project is the answer to the UK’s urgent need for car batteries yet.
There is only one battery plant in the UK, and it is owned by the Chinese. It is next to the Nissan factory in Sunderland.
In the European Union, 35 plants are planned or are already being built.