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So, Just What Is The UK’s Gigafactory Problem Then?

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One of those committee’s of MPs who never do ask the right question has announced that the UK doesn’t have battery gigafactories and yet the UK must have battery gigafactories. Well, OK, take that as being read for a moment. Now ask the right question – why doesn’t the UK have the battery gigafactories needed?

Survival of car industry depends on gigafactories
As MPs start inquiry on transition to electric cars, experts warn of risks to automotive sector without support including costlier vehicles

Put aside those various concerns we might have about the technology. Whether they’re actually being serious about the ban on internal combustion engines perhaps. Or whether solid lithium batteries are actually a viable technology as at least one start up proclaims. Meaning that we don’t want to go build factories using the wrong technology. Or even whether hydrogen and fuel cells might not be a better idea.

Run with the idea that we should have gigafactories and we don’t. Why?

Britain’s car industry will suffer a devastating blow if the country fails to build battery factories ahead of a 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles, experts have said.

Factories could be forced to shut and new car prices will rise unless the UK urgently develops so-called gigafactories to power the electric models of the future, MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee heard as they opened an inquiry into the shift away from fossil fuels.

What is the, erm, roadblock here?

Assume that this base analysis is correct. That without making the batteries here the cars won’t be. So, why aren’t BMW, Nissan, Honda, Jaguar, GM (ie, Vauxhall) all throwing up gigafactories? They all run their own internal combustion engine plants, The claim is that the batteries will be 40% of the value of a new electric car. Why is it that the people who build cars aren’t building the factories to make such an important part of a new car?

Sure, it could be that planning permission is a problem. That’s something government might need to solve. But other than that?

Well, think through it. If the people who make cars for a living aren’t convinced enough to be spending their own money what actually is the argument in favour of other people doing so?

Which is the question that the committee of MPs hasn’t asked, isn’t it? It’s also the important question that does need to be asked. If this is so important then where’s your own damn wallet?

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4 COMMENTS

  1. If Elon pays you enough, you’ll lobby for anything.

    Most of a car by weight is steel, aluminium and plastic. Therefore the UK must have its own iron ore and bauxite mines, or its car industry will suffer a devastating blow. Plastics, well with all the oil refineries closed down you’re going to be **cked, aren’t you? You’ll have to manufacture cars from unicorn **it. (“You” referring to the MP hiding behind The Telegraph’s paywall.)

  2. We haven’t got a problem as yet precisely because there isn’t one. Build one or two and we will have a problem. By we, I mean, of course, taxpayers.
    .

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