Mining giant Glencore Plc acquired a stake in Britishvolt Ltd., allowing the U.K. battery maker to secure long-term supplies of key material cobalt.
Britishvolt is building the U.K.’s first giant battery factory in northern England. It will produce batteries for electric vehicles, with demand set to grow as the U.K. bans sales of new gasoline- and diesel-powered cars by the end of the decade.
“This is a huge step in the right direction for Britishvolt,” Chief Executive Officer Orral Nadjari said in a statement, without disclosing the size of Glencore’s stake or the financial terms. “By partnering with Glencore, we are locking in supply and derisking the project.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is trying to avoid falling behind in a transcontinental competition to chip away at the dominance of Asian battery makers and Tesla Inc. Johnson has committed 1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion) to help build factories that can produce batteries at scale.
Britishvolt’s plant will be built in three phases, with a total capacity of 30 gigawatt-hours from the end of 2027. Its production capability will equate to enough cells for around 300,000 electric-vehicle battery packs a year.
Sales of EVs — both battery-electric and plug-in hybrid models — more than doubled in Europe last year to about 1.3 million units, topping China for the first time.
(By Amanda Jordan, with assistance from Thomas Biesheuvel)