Demand For Electric Vehicle Components Could Drive UK Reshoring

The shift towards electrification of vehicles could provide an opportunity for industry to return the production and manufacture of batteries to the UK, a new survey backed by Protolabs reveals. This could lead to significant new investment in the automotive sector, and potentially create thousands of new jobs.

The Engineer reports on a questionnaire of 200 senior executives from the European battery industry, which revealed that 84 per cent of UK companies are looking to bring parts of their supply chain closer to their manufacturing base over the next twelve months.

As well as the growing demand for batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), the supply chain disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has prompted many companies to look into localising their sources. This will make supply more reliable and consistent, and also help reduce the businesses’ carbon footprint by cutting down on excessive transportation.

Bjoern Klaas, vice president and managing director of Protolabs Europe, said: “With just six per cent of battery manufacturing taking place in Europe, we are still heavily reliant on battery cell imports and, with demand for electric vehicles increasing rapidly, there is an understanding this has to change.”

Klaas added: “The UK’s appetite to be at the forefront of the electrification race is clearly evident, but increasingly pleasing is the determination to create stronger domestic supply chains that can support battery development and production.”

77 per cent of UK respondents are planning to outsource component production to specialist manufacturers, and 86 per cent are planning to launch a new battery product or storage system during the next year. Currently just 6 per cent of battery manufacturing takes place in Europe.

Over half of the respondents felt that the government was over-incentivising hydrogen products at the expense of battery storage technology, and 29% called for increased spending to boost the domestic supply chain.

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