Many would say that climate change and sustainability hinge upon the global capacity for electric vehicle (EV) battery production. The use of batteries to power the automotive sector and other forms of transportation is one of the main efforts that is taking place across the globe as countries commit to an ever-growing, demanding extensive research and development.
Beyond its emissions reduction benefits, EV battery production is a highly lucrative opportunity that will likely drive the future of the economy.
According to McKinsey & Company, the industry will grow in size by more than 20% annually until we hit the year 2030, which will result in a global industry value of US$360bn. The consultancy firm has also worked out that if the industry follows the trends of the solar and wind energy sectors, there is a potential extra US$50bn for the taking.
Scaling-up in a growing EV battery industry
As the industry scales up at an exponential rate the general consensus is that battery manufacturers will experience cost reductions as demand drives down prices for important components. Founded in 2019 by Orral Nadjari, CEO, Britishvolt is one of the firms leveraging the market as it becomes a critical enterprise for the future. The company is also in talks with the Canadian government for development of a gigafactory in the west.
Meanwhile, the firm is leveraging the battery market and creating more employment in the Northeast and the UK thanks to its full-scale Gigaplant. This has created around 3,000 jobs in the Northeast and around 5,000 in the supply chain.
At home in the UK, Britishvolt is pioneering new technologies to enforce more battery solutions across the country while coming to terms with other technology centres about the next generation of EV batteries. In June 2022, the company signed agreements with Northumberland College and the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC), two major hubs for training, to collaborate on a suitable syllabus that will be used to educate the next generation of EV battery technicians.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to work within our local communities and help generate the skills required for Britain to play its part in the next industrial revolution. These partnerships will initially create opportunities for apprentices at levels 2-4, in time forming part of a wider electrification skills pathway towards higher-skills, up to and including level 8 (PhD).” says Britishvolt Head of Learning & Development, Katie Sloggett.
Working on the programme with Northumberland College and the AMTC, Britishvolt will support the development of new manufacturing associates and technicians through apprenticeship training. This endeavour also supports its BV FutureGen Foundation, which develops communities and acts as a pathway for more individuals to enter roles in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) roles, including renewable energy and other sustainability-related jobs.
“Both Northumberland College and the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre will link to Britishvolt FutureGen Foundation, connecting into hard-to-reach communities and driving up the aspirations and skills of the many.
I’m very excited for the boost for Northumberland and West Midlands. These agreements, alongside the broader technical training programme, will ensure that we have the people and skills that we need for the 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs (and another 5,000+ indirect wider supply chain roles). Building the batteries that will power our electric vehicles for a cleaner, greener future.”
A comment from Alex Burghart, the UK’s Government Minister for Skills, shows how the government is backing the actions of Britishvolt and the two training centres as it advocates cleantech and green industry.
“The UK is leading the way in supporting cutting edge green industries and it is brilliant to see apprentices take their rightful place at the forefront of our green skills revolution,” Burghart says.
“This deal proves what is possible when colleges and companies work together to meet the needs of learners, local communities and the economy, and I would encourage all colleges to follow Northumberland’s example.”
Britishvolt is at the heart UK EV industry
The firm secured mass funding from the government at the beginning of 2022 and also announced support from private investors Tritax and Abrdn, which, at the time, had the potential for an extra £1.7bn of funding.
Development of the factory is still in place, and can’t come fast enough, with the first production of batteries expected in 2024 ahead of the UK ban on petrol and diesel car sales. The firm has also signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with some of the automotive manufacturers in the country, including British-born Lotus Cars and Aston Martin Lagonda.