BYD and Panasonic are currently both calculating the possibilities of setting up a battery factory in the UK. According to media reports, both have each approached the UK government recently about the venture.
It seems that both companies have not been successful in negotiating the subsidies from Theresa May’s administration that they had hoped for.
The report also cites a meeting that happened at the recent Low-emission car summit in the UK, where a Chinese delegation including members from the BYD board, met with Theresa May. Insiders say that the British government has not been forthcoming with subsidies for the battery manufacturers. Another source countered that the negotiations are simply at an early stage, which is why no announcements have been made.
Great Britain has a subsidy programme for batteries called the Faraday Challenge, which is a subsidization programme for battery technology with a volume of 246 million pounds. The money available is “usually paid out in small sums”, however, making it unclear whether the battery manufacturers will benefit from the initiative.
It is also unclear which automobile manufacturers the battery manufacturers aim to work with: While Jaguar Land Rover is an obvious seeming answer, they also have ambitions of building their own battery manufacturing facility, for which they will likely enter a cooperation with an established battery specialist.
In a statement, BYD added that they are looking at several locations for a European battery factory, and that the UK were one of the options. In early June, the Chinese manufacturers had initially stated their interest in setting up a battery manufacturing facility in Europe. At the time, their statement to a Reuters reporter had specified that BYD were indeed looking to establish a battery cell manufacturing facility outside of China, for which Europe was a serious option. It does look as though the UK would be in a position to specialize as a tax haven in the post-Brexit world, however it seems that May’s administration still needs some time to figure out exactly how they will go about this.