Australian firm Recharge Industries has bought the defunct battery maker Britishvolt out of administration.
When we spoke to execs from Britishvolt back in May 2022, it impressed us as an innovative company with some ambitious ideas—it planned to build a battery factory in a strategic location in Northumberland, England, near to transport links and abundant sources of renewable energy, and to use the plant as a template for similar facilities around the world.
The company was portrayed as a possible saviour of the languishing British auto industry, and as such it was awarded substantial government funding. For reasons best known to themselves, the pols turned off the subsidy spigot, and when the company got into cash-flow problems, it expired.
Now Recharge has bought the remnants of Britishvolt for an undisclosed sum—the company’s remaining employees will be transferred to Recharge.
At this stage, no great enthusiasm for the realization of Britishvolt’s vision is evident. The BBC describes Recharge, which is owned and run by a New York-based investment fund, as “a start-up with little manufacturing experience.”
“I’m not saying I’m the best person in the world to run this project, but at the end of the day the administrators had a legal obligation to get the best return for creditors,” the fund’s Australian chief executive David Collard told the BBC. He described the Northumberland site as “shovel-ready,” but conceded that no shovels are likely to be used for 6 to 12 months.
The new owners plan to keep the Britishvolt brand name, but will shift the focus to batteries for stationary storage, and hopes to have products available by the end of 2025.
“The prospect of a much-needed plant that can produce batteries for high-volume carmakers in the UK looks many years off,” says the BBC.