Tag: Electric

Business minister boasted Britishvolt was Brexit success story months before collapse | Electric, hybrid and low-emission cars

Ministers were using the electric car battery maker Britishvolt as a prime example of the government’s record for “securing business investment in the UK” just months before the scheme collapsed without any public investment.

The company, once heralded as Britain’s potential champion for battery making, fell into administration last week after the failure of last-ditch talks to find emergency funding to keep it afloat. Its demise has been criticised as showing the government’s lack of industrial strategy, the shortcomings of “levelling up” and Britain’s failure to grasp new manufacturing opportunities in the wake of Brexit.

However, it has emerged that just last summer, ministers were still using Britishvolt as an example of the government’s ability to attract investment to the UK. In response to a request from a Tory MP for details of the government’s progress in securing investment, the then-business minister, Jane Hunt, claimed the government “has provided further support to attract significant investment in manufacturing, including delivering Britishvolt’s £1.7bn gigafactory in Blyth Valley, which will support 3,000 direct jobs and a further 5,000 across the supply chain.”

Senior Britishvolt executives are now to be quizzed as part of a parliamentary inquiry into the electric car battery industry. It had been trying to build a large facility near Blyth in Northumberland and had been promised government funds worth £100m, but the grant was dependent on finding private investors for the project.

Government officials met with the company on several occasions, but both the business department and the Treasury concluded its financial and managerial performance meant providing emergency support would not be a good use of public money. There have since been claims of mismanagement and profligate spending by the company, which senior figures have denied.

It is an embarrassment for the government, in a week in which it was

Bigger Is Better in India’s Nascent Electric Car Market

(Bloomberg) — In India, where an increasing number of consumers aspire to own bigger cars to cope with the country’s notoriously potholed roads and bad traffic, automakers are betting on low-cost battery-powered SUVs to capture the budding electric vehicle market.

At the nation’s major auto show in New Delhi earlier this month, there was a new breed of EVs taking center stage, with predominately foreign companies looking to muscle in on the nascent electric scene. In a marked shift in rhetoric, local auto bosses were also excitedly talking up the sector’s prospects.

Homegrown manufacturers Tata Motors Ltd. and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. are now jostling with Chinese giants BYD Co. and SAIC Motor Corp. and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. Even India’s biggest automaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., which had previously largely pooh-poohed EVs, showed a compact electric SUV it says will hit the market in 2025.

Demand for smaller SUVs has been surging in India. They’re suited for the country’s driving conditions, which can vary vastly from smooth multi-lane freeways to rutted streets crowded with rickshaws, dogs and cows. They also offer aspirational buyers an important, yet affordable, status symbol, perching drivers above the masses. And while larger electric SUVs tend to be inefficient (and expensive) because they require bigger and costlier battery packs, their compact equivalents are built on small-car platforms, making them more cost effective.

“The conundrum for electric vehicles is lighter is better, but customers want SUVs,” says Andy Palmer, the former CEO of Aston Martin who also helped spearhead Nissan Motor Co.’s creation of the Leaf, one of the first mass market EVs. “Using a small-car platform to build an electric SUV meets the sweet spot for both manufacturers and consumers,” he said, citing the example of Volkswagen AG using the ID.3 hatchback platform to