The UK is seeking at the highest level a foreign investor to establish a lithium-ion giga factory in Britain, Tony Harper, head of the British Faraday Challenge has told BEST Battery Briefing.
The Faraday Challenge programme, set up nearly a year ago to kick start a UK advanced battery capability to deliver energy storage for the next generation of UK-made low- and zero-emission vehicles, is spending GBP243 million ($319m) on research and development over the next four years.
While not confirming whether the Prime Minister herself was pitching for the investment, Harper stressed how important such a move for the UK was. “We make high-end cars in Britain just like Germany, with brands like Jaguar, Aston Martin and Maclaren”.
Harper said the UK auto industry would need at least 50 gigawatts of lithium-ion battery manufacturing capability by 2025 if it is to produce a growing range of mild and fully electric vehicles.
“Right now it’s a sellers market for cells and packs,” Harper said. Harper was formerly head of R&D at Jaguar Land Rover, which produces the UK’s only high-end electric car, with a price tag of $70,000.
He admitted it would take more than a decade before an indigenous cell maker could achieve those levels of production— but that it was ‘worth a shot’.
There will be a series features on the European and UK efforts in advanced batteries in the July issue of BEST Magazine. Make sure you have a paid subscription by signing up here.