Britishvolt acquired by Australian Recharge Industries

  • By Simon Jack
  • Professional writer

source of images, Britishvolt/PA Media


Artist’s impression of the factory planned by Britishvolt

The Australian company Recharge Industries has acquired the former battery manufacturer Britishvolt.

Its downfall was blamed on a lack of battery experience, proven technology, customers and revenue.

Recharge Industries has in many ways a similar profile, it is a start-up with little manufacturing experience.

It’s an Australian company, but it’s ultimately owned and managed by a New York-based investment fund called Scale Facilitation.

“What we’re bringing is validated technology,” the fund’s Australian managing director, David Collard, told the BBC.

“The US defense industry has validated it and it is already being supplied to the UK Navy through a contractor.”

Big ambitions

The new owners will retain the Britishvolt brand but have very different plans for the future.

The company intends to start by focusing on batteries for energy storage and hopes to have these products by the end of 2025.


David Collard, Managing Director of Scale Facilitation

It then intends to produce batteries for high-performance sports cars.

The prospect of a much-needed factory capable of producing batteries for high-volume carmakers in the UK is many years away.

But does Mr Collard understand why many in government and the motor industry fear he will not deliver what British industry needs without the involvement of big manufacturers like Ford, GM, JLR and BMW?

“They all started somewhere before they got big. We had accelerated growth and success all the way,” he said.

Recharge Industries certainly has big ambitions. He plans to build a similar factory in Mr Collard’s home town of Geelong, near Melbourne. He spent time fostering relationships with government and opposition leaders there.

He admitted he had yet to establish the same level of relationship in the UK, but had engaged with the owners of the Northumberland site.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with Northumberland County Council. They really want a gigafactory and what’s best for their people,” he said.

Mr. Collard honestly admitted that he might not be the right person to do it.

“I’m not saying I’m the best person in the world to lead this project, but at the end of the day the administrators had a legal obligation to get the best return for creditors – but I think they get away with it. care, as individuals, about what the future holds.”

The deal comes just days after Leveling Secretary Michael Gove spoke to the Northern Echo during a visit to Blyth and announced £20.7million in funding for the coastal town.

“The government is ready to support the right business with the right investment, as we believe a gigafactory here in Blyth would be an appropriate way to build on the skills of local people, and indeed the advantage that this city ​​has already displayed when it comes to renewable energy and the future of energy,” Mr. Collard said.

The collapse of Britishvolt, with the loss of more than 200 jobs, had been seen as a blow to the government’s “race to the top” program initiated by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The government had offered £100million to the former owners of Britishvolt if they reached certain construction milestones.

Mr Collard said he would gladly accept government funding but wanted broad political support. “Everyone will take free money, but at the end of the day what we want is bipartisan support and we have that in Australia and the United States.”

He described the site as “ready for the excavator”, but said it would take six to 12 months before the first excavator was in use at the site.

Eventually, he hopes the site will create up to 8,000 jobs on site and in the supply chain.

This would be a great outcome for the region and the UK economy, but this project does not yet appear to be the answer to the UK’s pressing car battery needs.

The UK currently has only one Chinese-owned battery plant, which is next to Nissan’s Sunderland plant.

There are 35 factories planned or already under construction in the European Union.

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