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Build & Sustainability

Recharge Industries ‘confident’ of making Cambois battery factory ‘a success’ after sealing Britishvolt deal

A battery technology firm says it is “confident” of turning a proposed Northumberland production plant into an “advanced green energy project” after completing a deal for a stricken operator.

Recharge Industries has bought the business and assets of Britishvolt.

The firm says it will harness the region’s “depth of history and talent in manufacturing and engineering” to bring to reality a battery making factory at Cambois, near Blyth.

The plant [pictured, above] had been central to Britishvolt’s blueprint to create as many as 3000 jobs but was left in the balance when the operator collapsed in January after running out of cash.

However, having now reached an agreement with administrators, Recharge Industries says it is ready to deliver the production base and support the North East’s “ambition to become a major player in the international battery market”.

David A. Collard, founder and chief executive of New York-based investment firm Scale Facilitation, of which Recharge Industries is a portfolio company, said: “Our plans are the right ones for the local community and the UK economy.  

“Backed by our global supply chain, delivery partners and a number of significant customer agreements in place, we’re confident of making the Cambois factory a success and growing it into an advanced green energy project.  

“We want to start as soon as possible. 

“I was really taken by the passion and pride people have for the region and their determination to get behind a project that can drive lasting change.”

Reacting to the news, John McCabe, chief executive at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said Recharge Industries will play a key role in the region’s “economic renewal”.

He added: “This transformative project has the potential to place the North East, and the UK, at the front of battery manufacturing.

“With its excellent port, road and rail links, and the availability of renewable energy sources, there is no better site on which to build such a huge facility.

“These are exciting times for our region.”

Britishvolt arrived in the North East with great vision and no little promise, with bosses saying its proposed plant – identified for ex-Blyth Power Station land – would have capacity to build hundreds of thousands of electric vehicle power packs every year and support 5000 supply chain posts.

However,  the endeavour 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, leaving the majority of its 300 staff redundant.