Australian Battery Start-Up Takes Over Failed Britishvolt

Artist's depiction of planned Britishvolt electric vehicle battery plant in Blyth. Image credit: Britishvolt

Australian start-up Recharge Industries buys failed battery venture Britishvolt from administrators, but has very different plans in mind

Australia-based start-up Recharge Industries is to take over collapsed UK battery venture Britishvolt after finalising a deal with bankruptcy administrators late on Sunday.

Administrators EY said the sale would “help to support the development of technology and infrastructure needed for the UK’s energy transition”.

Britishvolt had planned a £3.8 billion high-volume battery production plant at a site near the Port of Blyth in Northumberland making batteries for 300,000 electric cars per year.

The plan was intended to take advantage of rising demand for EVs ahead of the government’s 2030 ban on sales of new petrol or diesel cars.

britishvolt, electric vehicles, batteries
Faraday Future’s flagship FF 91 electric vehicle. Image: Faraday Future

Unproven start-up

While Recharge has yet to construct a large-scale project, it has an existing relationship with US-based lithium-ion battery developer C4V, removing the need to generate its own battery technology.

Britishvolt’s collapse last month was partly blamed on the large sums it spent on research.

The firm had been offered £100m of financing from the government but failed to meet various requirements.

But the Australian firm is focused initially on the power storage and defence industries, with plans later on to make batteries for high-performance sports cars – far different from Britishvolt’s original aims.

EV future

That leaves the UK with only one battery plant, a Chinese-owned operation next to the Nissan factory in Sunderland.

Countries and regions including the UK are looking to create EV battery supply chains independent of dominant producer China, but this requires large-scale investment.

An EU battery plan is being spearheaded by Sweden-based Northvolt, which began producing its first batteries at the end of 2021.