The challenge of creating a UK vehicle battery industry
Regulation on the emissions from internal combustion engines, actual and planned market disruption from Tesla (and Dyson, Google and others) and technological advances in electric powertrains and batteries are driving a surge of demand for electric vehicles (EVs).
Worldwide sales of pure electric vehicles grew by 45% last year and we saw commitments from a number of the big car companies not to make internal combustion engine cars from 2030 onwards.
There is an estimated £5 billion market opportunity in the UK and £50 billion across Europe by 2025.
The report on Trends in Electric-vehicle Design in October 2017 by McKinsey & Company very clearly articulates the issue for the EV market.
By physically disassembling 10 first and second generation EVs (models and makes representing about 40% of the pure-battery powered EVs ever produced) they concluded that there is still no overall technology winner.
When you break down the battery, battery cells and the thermal management system, you just can’t yet identify which technology is better for mass-market EVs.
This underlines what we know. That original equipment manufacturers (OEM) are investing, and are going to need to continue to invest, in this unknown space. So it is right to ask why then invest £246 million of UK taxpayers' money into this technology void?