Battery Power is charging forwards

UK in the fast lane to become global leader in battery technologies


Plans to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050 have taken a huge leap forward with a government announcement to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. The ban, set to be introduced in 2030, has led to a growing demand for new and more efficient batteries for electric cars.

The UK is leading the way in the “green industrial revolution”, being the first major economy to pass legislation to ensure net zero emissions. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has pledged the “United Kingdom of 2050 will no longer make any contribution whatsoever to the destruction of our precious planet…We will be the home of electric vehicles – cars, even planes, powered by British-made battery technology being developed right here, right now.”

Such confidence sounds encouraging, but there is still much work to be done before the UK can fully transition to electric transport. Innovation around electrical storage and distribution will be essential if net zero targets are to be met by the mid-century. In recognition of the challenges ahead, there are now government incentives to develop market leading battery technologies. Whilst such investment is necessary to achieve the legally binding targets, it could prove incredibly profitable in the mid to long term. Establishing itself as a global leader, the UK’s battery supply chain could be worth over £12 billion to the economy even before the ban comes into effect.

A very British Gigafactory

Two British start ups have seen the enormous potential of electrification and have joined forces to create the UK’s first, large scale battery factory. Britishvolt and AMTE Power have signed an agreement to work together on the facility set to make energy storage products and lithium-ion batteries for electric cars. Chief executive of Britishvolt, Lars Carlstrom, has revealed the British based enterprise would rival the joint Tesla-Panasonic Gigafactory in Nevada which produces batteries with a capacity of 30 gigawatt hours (GWh) a year. The announcement has provided a welcomed boost after the UK lost out on a major investment from Tesla. Chief Executive, Elon Musk, blamed the uncertainty surrounding Brexit for the company’s decision to choose Berlin over Britain for their European base. The UK government are now putting their full support behind British companies working to design, develop and manufacture technologies that support electrification.

Concerns over Electric Vehicles

Despite government efforts, many car owners are still reluctant to change. Concerns have been raised over the expense of electric vehicles, the limitations on their range and the inconvenience of charging times and stations. With a range of 325 miles from a full charge, the Tesla Model S which starts at £73,990 is by far the most efficient electric car on the market. But even the best electric offering can’t compare to the 1,112 mile range of a petrol fuelled Ford Focus at £21,995. Developments need to be made to bridge the price and range gaps between traditional cars and electric in order to gain public favour.

Support for the Energy Industry

Mass produced lithium-ion batteries at a British-based Gigafactory would certainly alleviate some cost concerns. Reducing manufacturing costs at the cell and pack level would almost certainly lead to a more affordable electric car. In addition to their strategy for mass production, Britishvolt and AMTE Power are exploring ways of lengthening battery life as well as inventing next generation battery technologies. As more and more electric cars hit the road, recyclability also becomes a factor and so British companies are now pursuing new innovations for end of battery life, reuse and recycling. Finding such solutions will play an important part in the sustainability of the industry. Meeting environmental targets whilst providing commercially viable options is sure to be the battle of the decade.

Businesses working on battery technologies are now connecting with Areande. As a specialist in the area, Areande are able to assess a company’s eligibility for government support and provide access to relevant funding and financial rewards.

Get in touch with Areande if your business is involved with electrification.