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Battery start-up Britishvolt files for administration

 (Britishvolt/PA) (PA Media)
(Britishvolt/PA) (PA Media)

Britishvolt is to enter administration today in a blow for the UK’s ambitions to gain a foothold in the global EV battery market.

The startup has filed a court notice to appoint administrators, with reports of a call with staff scheduled for noon today. The majority of its 300 staff have been made redundant with immediate effect.

Last week, the firm said it was in talks with a consortium of investors in order to help finance the construction of its Blythe battery factory, in a deal which would see its valuation drop more than 90%.

The rescue deal would have valued the beleaguered EV battery maker at just £32 million, according to reports in the Financial Times, down from the £774 million it was valued at in a funding round in February last year

The business is seen as a crucial element of the UK’s drive to grow its electric vehicle manufacturing capability. In January last year, it received an in-principle offer of government funding as part of its Automotive Transformation Fund, an £850 million programme to electrify Britain’s automotive supply chain.

Former prime miniter Boris Johnson hailed the construction of its Blythe facility, which was set to create 3,000 new jobs, as “a strong testament to the skilled workers of the North East and the UK’s place at the helm of the global green industrial revolution.”

Upon completion, Britishvolt’s Blythe factory was set to produce enough batteries for over 300,000 electric vehicles each year. The business has signed a number of deals to produce batteries for carmakers since the beginning of last year, including an agreement with luxury brand Aston Martin to develop high-performance battery technology.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The failure of Britishvolt is a big bump in the road for the future of battery making in the UK, just as the demand for EVs has surged.

“New gigafactories closer to car manufacturing hubs are considered important at a time when global supply chains have turned more brittle, but it shows how difficult it is for a battery start-up to enter this space.”