UK car industry ‘could lose 90,000 jobs without new battery gigafactories‘
SMMT says the government should increase support for electric car production to German and US levels.
Up to 90,000 jobs in UK car manufacturing could be lost unless the government raises support for electric car production to German and US levels, the industry body said.
Industry leaders accused the government of being long on words but short on actions to help the UK build electric vehicle capacity, support the industry and meet climate emergency targets.
Not only were more incentives needed for multinationals to build battery-electric factories in the UK, but also subsidies for consumers to buy vehicles and at least 2.3 million charging points across the country before the end of the decade. , according to a new industry report.
New Kia E Soul electric car at a charging point
UK in talks to build electric car battery ‘gigafactories’
“We are still lagging behind the competition, so we must rebuild better than our competitors, match words with deeds,” said Mike Hawes, executive director of the Society of Engine Manufacturers and Dealers, at the annual summit of the industry.
He said the UK was home to one of the world’s largest car and commercial vehicle manufacturing bases, but support on the supply and demand side of consumers could not match that of Europe and the United States. .
Nissan is expected to unveil plans for the country’s first “gigafactory” alongside its Sunderland plant, but the industry needs many more, according to the report.
Even if the UK meets its targets for electric motors, it would have roughly 12 gigawatt hours (GWh) of lithium battery capacity by 2025, compared to the 91GWh expected in the US and 164GWh in Germany.
Manufacturers warned that the lack of gigafactories in the UK was holding back the auto sector.
“With every day that passes, when we do not invest in battery manufacturing capacity, we are losing competitiveness. We have to commit at some point to at least one gigafactory, ”said Michael Straughan, chief operating officer for Aston Martin Lagonda, at the industry summit.
He said two sites had been identified, in Blyth and Coventry, and “one needs to get off the mark quickly.”
“If we don’t get off the fence, we are going to be left behind,” Straughan added. “The message is very clear: we will be electrified, but without batteries we have no industry.”
That point of view was shared by Joerg Hofmann, CEO of the electric and hybrid black taxi maker London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC).
“We have to move away from the dependency we have on Asian suppliers right now,” Hofmann said.
Additionally, more stimulus was needed to encourage the public to buy electric cars with the UK by offering grants of up to £ 2,500 compared to $ 7,000 in the US and € 9,000 in Germany, Hawes said.
“If ambitious words were common currency, the UK could be rich. Lack of investment suggests a lack of commitment, ”he said.
The industry blueprint is outlined in a new report, Full Throttle: Driving UK Automotive Competitiveness.
It says the government is already working with the industry to attract additional electric battery manufacturing to the UK, but calls for a “binding target” of 60GWh of battery capacity by 2030 to enable it to deliver on its promise to “level up” in the whole country.
The shift to electric cars and hydrogen or electric commercial vehicles is an urgent challenge as the sale of new cars that run on only gasoline and diesel will be banned by 2030 in the UK, while hybrids will be phased out by 2025.
Lack of investment would hit more constituencies that the Tories switched from Labor in the last election, Hawes warned, in the Northeast, Northwest and West Midlands. If the “impact is going to be negative … it will certainly be deeper in those areas,” he said.
On the contrary, there is the possibility that 40,000 high-paying, high-skilled jobs will be created in the “best-case scenario” of a successful transition to a zero-emissions future combined with “ambitious global business conditions,” the study concluded.
Hawes also called on the government to do more to protect the EU market for British cars, saying that international trade agreements, such as with Australia, “should never be at the expense of existing neighbors and existing trade agreements.”
Meanwhile, Alison Jones, country manager for Stellantis, which owns Vauxhall, warned that the future of its Ellesmere Port plant was still at stake.
The company was in talks with the government “and those were part of the equation” regarding a final decision on the Vauxhall plant, she said.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares recently said the talks were “extremely positive and productive” but “not enough” to safeguard the plant.[1-click-image-ranker]
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