The British e-bike brand Volt have opened their new manufacturing facility in Milton Keynes, which brings all their production to the UK after a year-long expansion project. They've seen a surge in demand for some time, and as sales continue to increase amid a cycling boom during the pandemic, Volt say now is an ideal time to start increasing their output.
Volt claim the move is a boon for UK manufacturing, with the new facility "combining innovative automation with exceptional hand-craftsmanship." They say they will now be able to churn out up to 25,000 e-bikes a year from the 20,000 sq ft factory in Milton Keynes, and will be creating 30 new jobs in the area.
While it's common for bike brands to move overseas when they look to upscale, Volt claim it's the centralisation of their production process that will actually allow them to be more efficient and more productive than if they using suppliers from abroad; especially with the UK's exit from the European Union looming. Founder and owner James Metcalfe commented: “We are very proud to fully-commit VOLT to the UK and excited to be part of British manufacturing’s resurgence.
"It has been a fantastic achievement to get the space up and running despite the added burden placed on our teams during the current COVID-19 restrictions. They have faced-up to the daunting challenge of adapting facilities and processes to ensure that we keep our people and customers safe, whilst realising our dream of delivering a cutting-edge e-bike factory."
Metcalfe also added that factoring in all the potential extra costs after Brexit, the company was convinced moving everything to the UK was the best choice: "With Brexit, and therefore a lack of clarity needed for a long term growth strategy relating to production outside the UK, we decided now was the time to commit fully", he told eBikeTips.
"Comparing our Milton Keynes production scalability and costs to producing overseas - when we factored in all the potential negatives of investing abroad, such as protectionist and anti-competitive EU taxes on overseas production shipping delays, etc. - the numerous positives of committing to “home soil” production far outweighed these. We have factored in 5-10 years of growth through this new hub, and it was an easy choice for us."
Volt also say the move will enable them to have more "localised control" over production, which they say will allow them to operate "more fluidly" across the manufacturing cycle. Will this have any effect on pricing? Metcalfe insists it won't, adding: "Customer pricing isn’t affected by the move, and we will continue to expand our wide range of bikes with something to suit all customers."
Volt have a showroom in London, but also sell direct on their website and through more than 100 dealers across the UK - check out their full range here.