You may know Andy Palmer as the ex-CEO of Aston Martin who thenmoved to Nissan where he heads the Japanese automaker’s product planning division; he now runs his own company. Recently, he addressed an open letter to the British Prime Minister, as well as Kwasi Kwarteng, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, stressing the need for the creation of battery production plants in the United Kingdom.
The British economy will undergo some changes as the island nation fully enforces its withdrawal from the European Union, and Palmer believes that in order for the local automotive segment to survive, they need facilities capable of making battery packs. This is especially important given the planned sale ban of all ICE vehicles starting in 2030, so there will be more EVs than ever and the need for batteries will go through the roof.
Palmer argues that if the U.K. doesn’t set up its own battery producing facilities and the supply chain to make production feasible, it will incur ‘ crippling tariffs ‘ importing the batteries from abroad. Furthermore, even though the U.K. is no longer a member of the E.U., it has negotiated a deal with it which stipulates that by 2026, EV batteries won’t be able to have more than 50 percent internationally-sourced components (meaning from outside the E.U.).
Autocar quotes an excerpt from Palmer’s open letter that says
Without electric vehicle batteries made in the UK, the country’s auto industry risks becoming an antiquated relic and overtaken by China, Japan, America and Europe. Business sense dictates that the automotive industry will move to where the batteries are, and we are facing a tight race against the clock. Leaving the European Union provides us with opportunities to compete in the industries of the future. Yet as things stand, France, Germany and the wider EU are showing their intent by making massive investments in factories that produce batteries and electric vehicle components. I am urging you to establish a 'Gigafactory Taskforce.'
The British automotive industry has had its ups and downs over the decades. Currently, it is fairly stable, although with just 1.3-million cars produced in 2019, a few hundred thousand units off the recent record of 1.75-million cars reached in 2016. The biggest players in the British car production segment are (in order of total units produced) Nissan, Jaguar-Land Rover, Honda, MINI and Vauxhall.