Britain’s battery sector has been delivered some unexpected good news, after an Australian billionaire told Sky News he will be opening an advanced battery plant in Oxfordshire later this year, creating up to 300 new jobs.
Andrew Forrest, the founder of the Australian iron ore giant Fortescue, said he was expanding operations at Williams Advanced Engineering, the technical offshoot of the famous Formula 1 team, which he bought last year.
The new plant in Kidlington will work on batteries and fuel cells which could be used in heavy goods vehicles in the coming decades.
The news comes barely 24 hours after the collapse of Britishvolt, the most prominent independent firm hoping to build a so-called gigafactory, mass producing batteries for electric cars manufactured in the UK.
While the Williams plant has a different focus – on high density batteries for large trucks, such as those used by mining companies – and while its output will be considerably lower than the promised levels of Britishvolt, the news will nonetheless reassure those worried that Britain’s aspirations of developing an EV industry are doomed.