Battery Sector | Britishvolt is burying its Quebec project

There will always be a player in Quebec’s battery industry, and Britishvolt will not play that role. The British company is burying its Quebec project and its Canadian branch is no longer headed by former Prime Minister Philippe Couillard. He believes that Quebec remains interesting for cell manufacturers – responsible for the last step before the assembly of batteries for electric cars.

Posted at 9:26 am
Updated at 3:07 p.m

Julien Arsenault

Julien Arsenault
Press

On Tuesday, Mr. Couillard confirmed what seemed inevitable: a company struggling to survive is putting aside its Quebec ambitions. Without specifying the date of his departure, the latter confirms that it took place “a few days ago”.

“My motivation was to participate in the project in Quebec,” the former Liberal premier said in a phone interview with Press. Since there is no other project in Quebec, my motivation is no longer there. Québec’s appeal factors still exist. »

Britishvolt, which has yet to generate revenue, says it decided to expand its horizons across North America after the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was passed in the United States. This law provides billions in subsidies and tax breaks to players in the battery industry, such as cellists.

However, it’s hard to know how the young shoot will fare on this side of the Atlantic at a time when its future seems very dim. According to the BBC, the company, founded three years ago, narrowly avoided bankruptcy by securing additional funding.

However, according to the British public broadcaster, it was not possible to know the identity of the creditors. Its cell factory project in the UK has been plagued by delays and exploding costs. Its feasibility seems uncertain.

Britishvolt has been seeking support in Quebec and Ottawa to finance its plant in Quebec, a project estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars and rumored for fall 2021. No one was surprised by the turn of events inside Legault’s government. as in Hydro-Québec because there has been no progress in recent months.

Good strategy

Mr. Couillard insists Britishvolt’s Quebec failure cannot be attributed to the strategy laid out by the Legault government. It was “very well set up, methodical and well deployed,” says the former prime minister. Representatives from the Ministry of Economy and Innovation as well as Investissement Québec (IQ) — the Quebec state’s financial arm — “listened” and “managed risks for taxpayers well,” he added.


PHOTOGRAPH BY PHILIPPE BOIVIN, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

Former Prime Minister Philippe Couillard ran the Canadian branch of Britishvolt.

The missing link is definitely the cell builder. I’m pretty sure another candidate will apply if they haven’t already. I think we need to build on the current strategy to attract businesses.

Philippe Couillard

It seems we have already turned to other options in Quebec.

“We are dealing with cellulite to serve the Quebec and even the North American market,” said Mathieu St-Amand, press secretary to Economy, Innovation and Energy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon.

However, he did not go any further.

Despite its Quebec approaches, Britishvolt still did not own the land it wanted in the Bécancour industrial and port park, a site favored by the Legault government for the development of the battery sector.

The government’s strategy relies on projects at all stages of the chain, i.e. mining resources such as graphite and lithium spodumene, converting materials into quality battery components, producing anodes and cathodes (the main element of the battery), assembling cells and manufacturing battery modules.

There were announcements at all stages. Britishvolt may have been the missing link.

She wasn’t the only one having problems. StromVolt, another startup, is no longer able to realize the 200-300 million cell factory unveiled in the fall of 2021. The young startup has partnered with Delta Electronics to offer the rights to its technology and expertise. , end.

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  • 9
    This is the number of steps in the battery chain between exploration and recycling.

    Source: Government of Quebec

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