Parliamentary Inquiry – UK Inexperienced Jobs Narrative Unraveling
Essay by Eric Worrall
Politicians have sought to bolster public confidence in their narrative of green investment and jobs by launching a parliamentary inquiry into why UK electric vehicle makers are faltering.
Business Committee opens UK inquiry into EV battery production
January 17, 2023
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee is launching a new inquiry into the supply of batteries for EV manufacturing in the UK and the viability of EV battery manufacturing in the UK.
The new investigation begins after the industry suffered a series of setbacks, including today’s announcement that government-backed battery start-up Britishvolt has entered administration and laid off 300 employees.
In October, BMW announced that it would end production of the electric Mini in Oxford.
It leaves Envision’s China-backed Sunderland site, which supplies Nissan as Britain’s sole manufacturer ahead of the looming ban on sales of petrol and diesel vehicles in 2030.
Committee Chair Darren Jones said:
“The future of car manufacturing in the UK depends on our ability to manufacture electric vehicles and export them to the EU.
This means we need a local supply of electric vehicle batteries – something where we are significantly lagging behind compared to other parts of the world.
This inquiry will examine what is holding back the development of electric car batteries in the UK and what needs to be done to protect the thousands of jobs across the country in this important sector.”
The committee requests submission of evidence on the committee’s website until February 14th by people with knowledge or experience in the industry who answer any of the following questions:
- Is there enough demand for vehicle manufacturers in the UK to support gigafactories?
- Will the UK have sufficient battery production stocks by 2025 and 2030 respectively to meet the government’s petrol and diesel phase-out plans?
- Is battery production in the UK necessary to support UK electric vehicle manufacturing?
- What are the risks for the UK car industry if sufficient battery manufacturing capacity is not built in the UK?
- What other domestic battery end-uses would provide a market for UK battery production?
- Does the UK have an adequate supply of critical materials to support vehicle battery production?
- How ready are UK vehicle manufacturers for the phasing-in of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) Rules of Origin (ROO) from 2024?
- What can Britain learn from investments in other countries in building gigafactories?
- Do we have the labor skills required to manufacture batteries? If not, what to do?
- Will UK batteries cost competitive compared to batteries made elsewhere?
- What impact will the European Union’s proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism have on UK manufacturing?
Image: CC Argonne National Laboratory
The problem is obvious, except perhaps for Westminster politicians.
China is the global center of renewable energy and battery manufacturing because China has kept their costs down. China uses cheap coal energy and slave labor to produce renewable energy, batteries and green vehicle components. China then exports its cheap, blood-soaked product to Western countries run by economically illiterate people.
Energy intensive manufacturing has no future in the UK unless UK energy prices remain competitively high. In the long run, unless Britain changes course, Britain will be forced to assemble energy-intensive components made by others and occasionally contribute high quality components that take advantage of Britain’s excellence in precision engineering.
Wasting taxpayer dollars and political capital to support green national champions like British Volt without addressing the underlying issues only delays the inevitable.