The constructor working on Britishvolt’s vast electric vehicle (EV) battery factory in Northumberland has paused work after the start-up opted for a “life support” plan to minimise spending. Britishvolt said the delays would not threaten the viability of the project with the facility slated to open in 2024.
In January, Britishvolt secured around £100m in government funding for its planned ‘gigafactory’ on the site of the former Blyth Power Station coal stocking yard in Cambois. That money enabled a partnership with Trixtax and abrdn that promised to bring in a further £1.7bn in private funding.
Once at full capacity in around 2028, the gigafactory could employ around 3,000 people with a further 5,000 jobs created across the wider supply chain.
When announcing the government’s support, Business Secretary Kwasi Swarteng said: “Britishvolt’s planned gigafactory will not only enable the UK to fully capture the benefits of a booming electric vehicle market, but will bring thousands of highly-skilled, well-paid jobs to the North East.”
The Guardian reports that leaked documents suggest a “funding gap” may have caused delays to the installation of steel infrastructure and that earthworks have also been delayed by “lack of payment”.
Britishvolt’s chief UK project officer, Tony Laydon, said that work was still continuing at the site, but that some contractors had left because packages of work had finished.
“We have line of sight funding to continue with our current plans,” he said.
Echoing those comments, a spokesperson said: “We are ahead in our enabling works at the gigasite in Northumberland. This has allowed us to now take the time to focus on the design work for the site and to reschedule some construction work so that we can optimise the build process for each of the project’s four phases, to better source materials given current supply constraints because of the global economic situation, and to enhance our cost efficiencies.”