Australian car battery startup front-runner to buy British Bolt

An Australian company was selected as the preferred bidder to buy much of British electric vehicle battery business British Vault, which was brought under control last month.

British Bolt had pledged to build a £3.8 billion gigafactory in Bryce, Northumberland, to produce batteries for electric vehicles. He employs 3,000 people and plans to produce batteries for 300,000 passenger cars and vans a year.

However, the project ran into serious difficulties a few months ago. Because the cash started running low before the site was cleared in preparation for construction.

In mid-January, the company appointed an EY-Parthenon manager after failing to raise enough funds to research and develop its Cambodian site.

Epoch Times photo
Location assigned to British Bolt’s factory in Bryce, England on 17th January 2023. (PA)

EY said on Monday that after considering “multiple approaches” it had decided to select Recharge Industries, an Australian firm backed by New York investment firm Scale Facilitation, as the preferred bidder, without giving details.

“EY has entered into an agreement with Scale Facilitation Partners LLC and its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, Recharge Industries Pty Ltd, where the joint controllers will be preferred bidders in the acquisition of the majority of the business and assets of Power by Britishvolt Limited. We are pleased to announce that we have made the decision,” the auditor said in a brief statement.

“This follows a process EY has put in place that includes multiple approaches from stakeholders and consideration of the large number of offers received.

“Completion of the acquisition is expected to occur within the next seven days.”

David Collard, Founder of Recharge Industries, said:

“After a competitive and rigorous process, we are confident our proposal will deliver strong results for all involved.”

Founded in 2022, Recharge wants to build its own Gigafactory near Melbourne, Australia, but the company is still in the early stages of the project.

Venture in fuss

In January 2022, the UK Government announced plans to commit £350m to the Net Zero Strategy, adding £500m to the 10 Points Scheme as part of raising the bar on targets. This means investing in underprivileged areas in the north. Located in England and the Midlands, it doesn’t lag further behind London and the South East.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the British Bolt factory would become part of Britain’s “global green industrial revolution”, opening in 1986 and employing thousands of people in areas of high unemployment, Nissan in Sunderland said to be as transformative as a car factory in

The UK government has said new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030.

A domestic EV battery factory is also considered essential to prevent UK car production from shifting to mainland Europe. To comply with trade requirements with the European Union, the majority of EVs by value must be manufactured in the UK to avoid EU tariffs.

The plan was to develop a 95-hectare site that had once housed a coal-fired power plant, using Norwegian hydropower transmitted 447 miles below the North Sea via the world’s longest interconnector.

However, Britishvolt was unable to raise sufficient funds to continue operations. The company had been promised £100 million in funding from the government, but to protect taxpayers if the company went bankrupt, the money would only be available if the company hit certain milestones. It was available, but never actually materialized.

In recent months, the company has sought to keep itself afloat by raising enough money from private investors, including mining giant Glencore. However, the efforts were insufficient.

Rising interest rates and recession risks have made financing much more difficult for many start-ups, especially those seeking large sums of money for large-scale projects like EV battery factories.

“High Risk Project”

Attempts to rescue the British Bolt have been supported by politicians from both major parties, but are not without controversy.

Andy Meyer, chief operating officer and energy analyst at the Institute for Economic Affairs, said the British Vault will always be a “highly risky project”.

He said the UK should give up on plans for a gigafactory to make batteries for electric vehicles and accept that it cannot compete with countries with lower labor costs.

Mayer told the Epoch Times last month: It failed because the specific representation of the technology was not sufficient. I wasn’t ready. No one really wanted to buy. So government funding won’t change that. ”

Mayer said: And there is the danger that politicians will make terrible economic decisions based on promises they cannot keep. We kind of fall into the sunk cost fallacy where they spend bad money trying to prove a point and don’t succeed. ”

Chris Summers and PA Media contributed to this report