Done deal: Recharge Industries buys Britishvolt
US-Australian company Recharge Industries has acquired insolvent British battery startup Britishvolt. The deal had already become apparent in early February and, according to an official statement by Recharge Industries, has now been completed. Britishvolt’s planned battery cell factory in the northern English county of Northumberland has therefore been saved.
There are few other details in the official announcement. According to the BBC, the new owners will keep the name Britishvolt but change the factory’s focus. Instead of producing battery cells for major car manufacturers, the Research Industries will allegedly focus on batteries for stationary energy storage first and later make batteries for high-performance sports cars.
Neither the official announcement nor the BBC report mention the purchase price for Britishvolt’s assets. What is known, however, is that the remaining employees will transfer to Recharge as part of the deal. Work on the planned UK plant is expected to start in the next six to twelve months, with the first products from the manufacturing facility coming to market by the end of 2025.
Britishvolt first made headlines in 2020 with plans to build a battery cell factory in the UK. However, reports of a difficult financial situation had been circulating for months. In August 2022, founder and CEO Orral Nadjari withdrew from his position – officially clearing the way for the “next phase” of the project. However, the Guardian reported as early as summer 2022, citing an internal presentation, that construction work on the Blyth site would be severely limited until February to minimize spending due to a lack of funding. Then, when the British government rejected a 30 million pound funding advance at the end of October, there were even more substantial indications that Britishvolt would soon have to file for insolvency.
That time came in mid-January 2023. However, a bidding process immediately raised hopes that the plant plans could be pursued. The building permit for the site has reportedly been granted. As early as the beginning of February, several media reported that Recharge Industries had made the best offer among several bidders and had therefore been selected as the buyer for the bankrupt British battery cell startup Britishvolt.
Recharge Industries is an Australian battery startup owned by US investor group Scale Facilitation. The company is reportedly already planning its own battery cell factory in Australia with an annual capacity of up to 30 GWh. According to the BBC, Recharge Industries and Britishvolt are similar in many respects. For example, it is also a startup with little production experience.
David Collard, founder and CEO of Scale Facilitation, told BBC: “What we are bringing is validated technology” and that “the US defence industry has validated it and it is already supplied to the UK navy through a subcontractor.” The technology Recharge Industries plans to use via a license comes from US technology partner Charge CCCV, or C4V for short.
In the official announcement, Collard says: “Our proposal combined our financial, commercial, technology and manufacturing capabilities, with a highly credible plan to put boots and equipment on the ground quickly. ” When completed, the factory could create up to 8,000 local jobs.
Meanwhile, the UK’s efforts to attract battery cell manufacturers that can supply automakers there, will have to continue. If Recharge Industries focuses on the stationary storage market and niche automotive applications, local cell supply to British vehicle plants of Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Landrover, and BMW will still look bleak on the island. Only Envision AESC in the vicinity of the Nissan plant in Sunderland, England, currently has plans to do so.