Failure to invest in the development of electric car batteries could cost UK 105,000 jobs-study

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Shadrach   in Technology & IT

18 March 2020, 05:52 GMT

Faraday Institution claims that the potential dangers of the Uk automotive industry are not caused by' gigafactories.'

The UK automotive industry risks losing Europe in the race to develop large battery factories crucial to the future of the market, placing employment at risk across the region, a government-backed research body has warned.

A failure to draw so-called gigafactories to produce electric car batteries could cost the UK 105,000 jobs by 2040, Faraday Institution estimates reveal.

Carmakers round the world are racing to modify production from combustion engines towards electric cars with zero exhaust emissions, amid tightening limits on CO2 output and therefore the threat of outright bans that would come as early as 2032 within the UK.

Chinese companies are the most suppliers of lithium ion batteries to European manufacturers, but carmakers are looking to supply their own closer to their factories, meaning billions of pounds of investments are up for grabs, with many UK factories competing directly against their counterparts in France, Germany and Italy.

Over time, car production will migrate to where the battery production is,” said Neil Morris, the Faraday Institution’s chief executive. We’re at or near the fork within the road.

If the united kingdom were to create enough batteries to exchange fuel car production, direct employment within the automotive industry could rebound from about 170,000 jobs in 2020 to as many as 220,000 in 2040.

However, a worst-case outcome with no large-scale UK battery production could lead on domestic vehicle producers to “gradually wind down their production of combustion engine vehicles, progressively eliminating the roles of the 170,000 people directly employed within the UK automotive sector,” Faraday’s report says.

France and Germany have announced plans for up to €6bn (£5.3bn) of investments in battery production, as they seek to secure employment for many workers in their automotive industries.

The European commission has also approved a separate plan by Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden to pump €3.2bn into starting a eu battery industry.

The continued uncertainty over Brexit negotiations has further complicated British government’s efforts to secure private investment during a gigafactory.

Despite the decline of its homegrown industry, the united kingdom has managed to carve out an edge because the fourth-largest car producer in Europe. However, all of the UK’s large factories are owned by foreign companies, many of whom are averse to creating investments until the long-term trading relationship with the EU is set .

The UK’s departure from the EU was thought by industry insiders to be an element in Honda’s decision to shut its Swindon factory, also as Nissan’s U-turn on building its X-Trail SUV in Sunderland. The Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port is additionally under threat from a nasty Brexit deal.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, said in November that uncertainty over the Brexit process was a key reason for the US electric carmaker’s choice of Berlin for its first European gigafactory, instead of a UK location.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, which represents UK carmakers, agrees that the industry needs further investment.

As the worldwide transition to zero-emission transport gathers pace, we must make sure the UK remains a beautiful place to style , build and sell electric vehicles.

the SMMT said.

We already make a number of the bestselling electric cars and taxis, but to take care of our manufacturing competitiveness and safeguard jobs for the longer term demands significant supply chain investment – securing large-scale battery manufacturing capability are going to be essential to driving this.