Multi-billion public investment in batteries needed to save car sector, report finds

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The government must pump tens of billions of public money into “gigafactories” producing batteries for electric vehicles to secure the future of Britain’s car industry and create 33,000 jobs, a new report has found.

As the world switches from petrol and diesel, the UK needs to increase battery manufacturing capacity from the current 2 gigawatt-hours per year (GWh/a) to 80 by 2030 to protect 90,000 jobs in the automotive sector, found Report of the Gaya think tank Common Wealth.

More reports, viewed by independentwarned that the kingdom would have to shell out the bulk of an estimated £100bn investment over the next eight years or risk thousands of high-skilled jobs being “offshore” in other countries.

With the private sector committed to a total investment of £12bn and the government cutting only £1bn so far, the report concluded that an additional £10.9bn is needed each year by 2030.

Ministers have previously indicated they want the private sector to “lead the charge” for mass ownership of zero-emissions vehicles. But today’s report warned that leaving the investment decision up to the market would put the UK at risk of offshoring potential and jobs.

It recommended that at least half – and possibly the majority – of the necessary funding should come from the government and be front-loaded to help Britain catch up with major EV producers such as Germany and China.

This will allow the UK to secure a public equity stake in one of the large future industrial growth sectors, anchoring jobs in the UK and ensuring that returns generated from investments are passed on to the taxpayer rather than private investors.

The report said that investments of this scale could create 33,200 new jobs. And a controlling public equity stake would allow the government to direct production of lithium-ion batteries for buses and trams to help shift the balance toward cleaner public transportation options.

Common Wealth researcher Khem Rogli, co-author of the report with Adam Almeida, said: “Public ownership in key sectors can underpin a democratic plan to transition to a green transport system, ensuring that union jobs in manufacturing. are safe.”

“This could reverse the legacy of de-industrialization in UK manufacturing and help keep the wealth produced from battery production in the pockets of workers and the public.”

As part of its plan to deliver net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the government will phase out sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, leading to a massive shift to electric models in the coming years.

But in the UK there is currently only one Gigafactory in Sunderland, which produces a total of 2 GWh/a batteries to Nissan. Planning permission has been granted for a second plant in Sunderland and a second plant in Coventry, while Britishvolt is building a battery factory in Blyth.

The report found that this leaves a “significant reduction” in domestic battery manufacturing, with total projected production from approved projects reaching only 45 GWh/a by 2030.

And it warned that without more factory development, there was a risk of government cash being spent on research and development in Britain, only for production overseas.

The automotive sector employs 797,300 people across the UK, including 156,400 in the manufacturing sector, generating £15.3bn for the national economy.

The report found that without an industrial strategy to secure a managed transition to electric vehicle production, about 90,000 jobs in the sector would be at risk by 2030.

A survey of Unite union members in the industry earlier this year found that nearly half (48.6 percent) feel insecure in their jobs.

But the Commonwealth Report found that a successful transition to EV production could protect the existing workforce, while creating 10,400 secure and unionized jobs in the West Midlands, 4,600 in the North-West and 5,900 in the North-East by 2030. Is.

Matthew Lawrence, director of the think tank, said: “The UK auto sector is at a turning point. Ambitious action – including public investment and a public stake in battery production – can secure a proper transition to an EV future.

“If we are successful, we can secure decent green jobs, cut emissions, improve public transportation, and the green industry of the 21st century.”

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: “We are dedicated to keeping UK Gigafactories safe across the country and the progress of plans to mass-manufacture the batteries needed for the next generation of electric vehicles. To continue working with investors.

“The UK is one of the best places in the world for automotive manufacturing, and we will build on that through a major investment program to electrify our supply chain and create jobs.”

Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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