Lack Of Electric Car Battery Investment Could Cost Jobs

Thu 19th Mar 2020

A major new study has revealed that a lack of investment in the new industry of electric car battery production could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The news, from the highly influential Faraday Institution, suggests that the future of the UK car industry is on the line and seriously under threat if it fails to modernise and loses out to Europe in the race to build huge ‘gigafactories’ to meet the growing demand for electric car engines.

If the UK does not attract the gigafactories to their own shores to help European carmakers, then the billions of pounds of investment will go elsewhere, to factories in France, Germany and Italy.

According to the report, UK jobs could rise from 170,000 to 220,000 over the next twenty years, but if no investment is attracted then it could cost 105,000 jobs.

“Over time, car production will migrate to where the battery production is,” said Neil Morris, the Faraday Institution’s chief executive. “We’re at or near the fork in the road.”

The Faraday report goes onto say that jobs are being lost already in the transition to EV as producers “gradually wind down their production of internal combustion engine vehicles, progressively eliminating the jobs of the 170,000 people directly employed in the UK automotive sector.”

While the United Kingdom remains Europe’s fourth largest car producer, the uncertainty over Brexit has already had a major impact on the industry, certainly costing jobs and investment - said to be one of the key reasons Tesla opted for Berlin to build its first gigafactory in Europe, near Berlin.

“As the global transition to zero-emission transport gathers pace, we must ensure the UK remains an attractive place to design, build and sell electric vehicles,” the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said. “We already make some of the bestselling electric cars and taxis, but to maintain our manufacturing competitiveness and safeguard jobs for the future demands significant supply chain investment – securing large-scale battery manufacturing capability will be essential to driving this.”