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Business & Economy

Job hopes revived as Recharge Industries swoops for collapsed Britishvolt

Hopes have been revived of a North East jobs windfall after a deal was agreed to salvage an electric vehicle battery company from administration.

Australia’s Recharge Industries has been named preferred bidder for the business and assets of Britishvolt.

The approach – expected to be officially completed in the next week – renews optimism of a green jobs surge in the region, with Recharge looking to resurrect Britishvolt’s plans for a 3000-job battery making plant in Cambois, near Blyth, Northumberland.

Identified for ex-Blyth Power Station land, Britishvolt said the venture would have capacity to build hundreds of thousands of electric vehicle power packs every year, with its wider employment impact supporting 5000 supply chain posts.

But the blueprint was halted when Britishvolt ran out of cash, with the majority of its 300-strong workforce made redundant in January.

However, Recharge Industries, which is also looking to build a similar factory close to Melbourne in its native Australia, says it is confident of resuscitating plans for a green energy revolution on the Northumberland coast.

David A. Collard, founder of Recharge Industries and managing partner and chief executive of New York-based investment firm Scale Facilitation – of which Recharge is a portfolio company – said: “We’re thrilled to be progressing with our proposed bid for Britishvolt, and can’t wait to get started making a reality of our plans to build the UK’s first gigafactory.

“After a competitive and rigorous process, we’re confident our proposal will deliver a strong outcome for all involved.”

Britishvolt arrived in the North East with great vision and no little promise, but began to unravel last year when a request for a £30 million Government advance – as part of a wider £100 million Downing Street-led Automotive Transformation Fund deal – was refused.

The company – which previously secured deals with luxury marques Lotus and Aston Martin to develop technology for next generation sports cars – subsequently agreed an investor deal it said would provide “a bridge to a more secure funding position for the future”.

However, when it failed to secure further support, the business collapsed.