Boris Johnson has pledged to ban the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2030, a promise that could bankrupt the UK auto industry unless a battery installation is secured.
Automakers have sought to secure the supply of batteries near where they plan to build their cars, as the devices are heavier and more expensive to ship than traditional combustion engines.
the Financial Time Six companies reported on Wednesday were in talks with ministers, including Ford, Nissan and South Korean electronics giants LG Chem and Samsung.
Start-up BritishVolt is also interested and publicly unveiled its plans last year. Slovakian company InoBat is said to be in talks with authorities in the Midlands over the use of a vacant facility at Coventry Airport.
Ford is considering potential locations for a battery supplier for its Transit Custom, an all-electric van slated to go into production in Turkey in 2023.
A Ford spokesperson said: “We will confirm the battery supplier for the Transit Custom closer to launch. ”
InoBat, LG and Samsung did not respond to requests for comment.
In May, it was reported that Nissan could build a battery plant to support its Sunderland plant. A government spokesperson said the ministers “are dedicated to securing gigabytes and are continuing[s] to seek to work closely with investors and automakers to advance plans for mass production of batteries in the UK ”.
Britain has only one company with official plans to build a gigafactory in the UK. BritishVolt, founded in 2019, wants to build a 2.6 billion pound manufacturing site near Blyth for its electric batteries.
The UK has a £ 500million fund to finance battery companies in Britain, although the EU has offered companies a tranche of € 2.7 billion (2,3 billion pounds).
Simon Moores, Managing Director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, said: “£ 500million will get you nowhere. It is not a commercial scale investment.
He said the UK would need to build four battery factories to support 175 gwh of capacity in order to maintain UK car manufacturing targets.
The EU has a head start in battery production with Tesla’s gigantic plant in Berlin, which will produce electric cars and batteries. Companies such as LG Chem and Northvolt have also pledged to build factories on the continent.
The Telegraph revealed last month that the government’s Office for Investment had called on local authorities to urgently submit potential locations for possible new electric car plans which will hopefully boost Britain’s auto sector by £ 80 billion.
Some members of the government are hoping to entice billionaire Elon Musk to build an electric car factory in Britain.