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COMMENTARY by Jonathan Newell, Editor


Testing& Test Houses


A BOOST FOR UK BATTERY INDUSTRY?


B


attery suppliers in the UK are seeking additional funding to protect EV manufacturers from supply chain problems. With the Road to Zero deadline now set to see the end of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicle sales by 2035, some predictions for


lithium-ion battery demand estimate a 19-fold growth in the market by the end of this decade. To help meet this demand while minimising the risk of international


supply chain issues, the industry is lobbying the government to match the £1 billion funding pledge of the green energy sector for automotive battery producers. With battery supply already struggling to meet demand, the creation of full-cycle on-shore battery plants needs to be prioritised instead of relying on large scale manufacturers abroad, one manufacturer believes. The need to secure supplies of lithium-ion batteries has now become


more of an imperative with the announcement this month that businesses choosing electric company cars under £40,000 will not pay any benefit-in- kind (BiK) tax this financial year and just 1 per cent in 2021/22, in a bid to accelerate mainstream electrification. Compared to the high BiK rates for conventional cars, this measure is


designed to incentivise drivers to switch to electric and low-emissions vehicles, helping the UK achieve its Road to Zero targets. As a result, manufacturers are likely to see the demand for electric


vehicles and the lithium-ion batteries that power them surge. To put this in perspective, the number of battery electric vehicles (BEV) registrations grew by 243.1 per cent this year compared with last and now this figure is set to rise further. In response, the UK government should continue to invest in the country’s capabilities and prioritise an on-shore full-cycle supply chain, instead of relying on costly imports from large-scale manufacturers abroad, according to AMTE Power. The company’s CEO, Kevin Brundish, says: “Although the recently





this progress the manufacturing sector must be supported





announced tax break will have a direct correlation in meeting climate change goals, to sustain this progress, the manufacturing sector must be supported to service the demand for lithium-ion batteries. In this way, unforeseen factors will not have the ability to emphasise the industry’s over-reliance on overseas manufacturers.”


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April 2020 /// Testing & Test Houses /// 3


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