Posted on Leave a comment

Fortescue founder to build UK battery factory

automotive 2

Andrew Forrest, the founder and chairman of Australian iron ore giant Fortescue, gave the UK automotive sector an unexpected boost when he said he would open a plant to make batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK this year. The announcement followed news that start-up battery maker Britishvolt had failed to raise sufficient funding to proceed with developing its site near Blyth, leading to it going into administration.

With the UK automotive sector gradually transitioning to low-carbon vehicles ahead of the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles in 2030, many lubricant brands like Castrol have already developed specialised coolant and lubricant products for EVs. Domestically produced batteries are also seen as key to supporting the industry. Some 10 battery gigafactories will be needed in the UK by 2040, according to The Faraday Institute, to sustain the large-scale manufacture of low-carbon vehicles.

Forrest was recently in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum, where he said:

“We invested heavily in British technology, British know-how and British work ethic last year. But then we’ve said: ‘Listen, it’s great you’ve got the most advanced, innovative prototype batteries in the world… but we’ve got to get into manufacturing.’ So last year, we started building a factory in Kidlington.”

He added that the factory will create hundreds of jobs when it opens in April this year, but this would just be a starting point before he diffuses the technology to North America and Australia, where he believes it will be found in everything from motorbikes to trains.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.