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The two-year deal will see the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) develop, assemble and manufacture battery cells for mass production and commercialisation at Britishvolt’s plant on the site of the former Blyth Power Station in Cambois, Northumberland.

UKBIC was opened by prime minister Boris Johnson in July 2021 to support UK companies scale up their battery production and upskill their workforce.

The move follows a government announcement last week of an in principle offer of funding to the company made through the Automotive Transformation Fund, understood to be £100 million, which in turn has led to £1.7bn funding from investors Tritax and Abrdn.

Britishvolt is developing Li-ion battery cells which it says will enable vehicle manufacturers to produce “brand-specific characteristics”, meaning that batteries will vary according to the type of vehicle – a battery for a van will be different to that of a sports car. Its factory will create around 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs and a further 5,000 in associated supply chains, it said.

The plant received planning permission from Northumberland County Council last year, and began land clearing and preparation in September, in preparation for construction to begin in the second quarter of this year. The project will be built in phases to keep up with technology advancements, and will have a total capacity of over 30GWh by the end of the decade.

At full capacity, the plant will produce enough battery cells for over 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs per year, around 25% of the UK’s current vehicle manufacture. It hopes to begin production in the final quarter of 2023, or early 2024.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “In this global race between countries to secure vital battery production, this government is proud to make the investment necessary to ensure the UK retains its place as one of the best locations in the world for auto manufacturing.” 

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