Britishvolt, a UK-based startup, is looking to Quebec to build a plant to manufacture lithium-ion battery cells.
Three representatives of the company, including its Chairman and CEO, Ural Ngari, are registered in the Lobbyists Registry to obtain financial assistance to build a plant “somewhere unspecified in Quebec”.
Former Prime Minister Philip Cuellard is a director of Britishvolt Canada, the Canadian branch that was set up last April. Hydro-Québec, Investissement Québec and the Minister of Economy and Innovation are Britishvolt Canada’s targeted interlocutors.
Investissement Québec confirms that discussions are being held with this potential investor. Its spokeswoman, Isabelle Fontaine, said in an email: “Indeed, Investment Quebec is in contact with the British company The Volt. However, under obligations of confidentiality, Investissement Québec will not publicly discuss the content of its discussions with the company.”
Britishvolt was created at the end of 2019 with the ambition to produce better-performing electric vehicle batteries from Tesla. It has chosen to be located in the United Kingdom, where the Boris Johnson government recently announced that new gasoline-powered cars would be banned from selling in the country in 2030.
The company wants to build a £ 3.5 billion ($ 5 billion) plant in Blythe, northeast England, that will be powered by clean energy and be one of the largest in Europe.
to me Financial Post, Britishvolt has requested financial aid of one million pounds ($ 1.7 million) from the British government to build its 300,000 batteries per year plant, which will employ 3,000 people. Activities are scheduled to start at the end of 2023.
European countries are speeding up their pace
Currently, lithium ion battery cells are mostly produced in China. A great deal of interest is the desire shown by European countries to obtain local production. About fifteen battery plants are under construction on European soil, including Tesla in Germany and Northvolt, in partnership with Volkswagen, in Sweden.
Britishvolt struck a deal earlier this year with Siemens that would help it build and operate the UK’s first battery plant. The company says it wants to participate in developing a value-added ecosystem in the electric vehicle sector.
These are the first investors to publicly express an interest in manufacturing electric vehicle batteries. Francois Legault’s government has stated that it is prepared to invest a lot of money so that Quebec has a place in the transport electrification sector. In particular, he dreamed of a “mine to battery” production line in which the provincial resources of graphite and lithium would be combined.