Australian battery technology firm Recharge Industries has bought troubled battery factory start-up Britishvolt.
Launched in 2019 with plans to build a battery gigafactory in northeast England, Britishvolt fell into administration earlier this year after struggling to secure sufficient funding.
Recharge Industries, which is based in Geelong and is currently developing Australia’s first lithium-ion cell production facility, has long been linked to a deal to to buy Britishvolt, which has now been approved.
In a statement, Recharge Industries said that it would push through with construction of the Britishvolt plant in Blyth, Northumberland, and said it could play “a critical role in the UK’s industrial and net zero strategies”.
But while Britishvolt had originally planned to supply batteries for use in electric vehicles, Recharge Industries is set to initially focus on producing batteries for energy storage.
Recharge Industries is owned by American investment firm Scale Facilitation, whose boss David Collard said: “We are thrilled to have been successful in our bid for ownership of Britishvolt; our plans are the right ones for the local community and the UK economy.
“Our proposal combined our financial, commercial, technology and manufacturing capabilities, with a highly credible plan to put boots and equipment on the ground quickly.”
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
The collapse of Britishvolt was a major blow for the future of the UK’s automotive industry.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents the UK’s automotive industry, warned last year that a lack of UK battery production could threaten its future.
The start-up formed in 2020 planned to open a £3.8 billion facility in Northumberland that would eventually be able to produce 48GWh of battery cells per year - enough to supply 30,000 new cars.
Britishvolt had experienced months of financial difficulties prior to its collapse. In November last year Britishvolt secured what they described as “near-term investment”, allowing it to continue to operate while it tried to secure longer-term funding.