The ‘In Charge’ report was carried out in Spring 2021 and surveyed 200 senior executives from across the European battery industry. It found 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. Nearly four-fifths (77 per cent) of UK respondents are also looking to outsource component production to specialist manufacturers, whilst 86 per cent are planning to launch a new battery product or storage system over the course of the year ahead.
“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,” said Bjoern Klaas, vice president and managing director of Protolabs Europe.
“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. This isn’t just headline ‘gigafactories’ either, but covers new technology, production components and, according to 84 per cent of the companies surveyed in the UK, investment in increasing additive manufacturing capabilities.”
Alongside the reshoring trend, many respondents highlighted sustainability as the UK’s main differentiator when looking to challenge battery development and manufacture in Asia. More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of UK executives believe their businesses will gain competitive advantage by increasing their environmental capability, with the same proportion predicting that a commitment to the circular economy could prove crucial when attracting inward investment.
“Sustainability means the entire value chain,” Klaas continued. “Raw materials, supply chain, manufacturing and recycling – they will all need to comply with strict Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) criteria.
“The UK is well placed to achieve this when compared with other nations, but there is still work do, with 63 per cent of those surveyed worried about the sourcing of responsible raw material practices and a similar number concerned about the use of renewable energy in production.”