Written evidence from Watercycle Technologies Ltd (BEV0040)

Questions and response:


  1. What are the risks to the UK automotive industry of not establishing sufficient battery manufacturing capacity in the UK?
  2. Is UK-based battery production necessary to support the manufacture of electric vehicles in the UK?
  3. How ready are UK vehicle producers for the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) rules of origin (ROO) phasing in from 2024?


a)      Today’s economic development has to be driven by circularity and geopolitical considerations.  As such, the UK economy needs to encourage technological advancement, reduce its environmental footprint, secure domestic supply chains, and negate a reliance on third party international suppliers.  It makes economic sense to invest in all areas of the EV space, create agglomerative effects and drive innovation as we look to fulfil our climate change/net zero objectives and build a future based economy.  Our established car industry will need batteries; if the UK doesn’t supply them, industrial investment could be at risk.  Technologies rapidly advance and the UK is at the forefront of innovation and IP generation, something that needs to be continually nurtured


b)      With this in mind, the Watercycle team recognises that it is not only important to champion UK based battery production to underpin EV manufacturing, but also encourage an independent supply chain of the components and commodities needed to supply this industry.  Accordingly, Watercycle is working with a number of UK lithium brine companies, utilising its unique Direct Lithium Extraction and Crystallisation technology (developed at the University of Manchester) to secure a supply of domestic lithium carbonate.  


c)       The question is not what the risks are to EV manufacturing without battery production, but how can the UK utilise its prowess in car design and technological innovation to become a leader in the sector, securing all aspects of the production process, from the supply of raw materials to battery manufacturing?  Net zero is about economic transition; this has to be manged by government and industry in unison to secure our future.














  1. Will the UK have sufficient battery production supplies by 2025 and 2030 respectively to meet the government phase-out plans for petrol and diesel vehicles?


  1. What other domestic end uses for batteries would provide a market for UK battery production?


d)      Based on the end-use industry, the market is segmented into aerospace, automotive, electronics, energy storage, military and defence, and others.


  1. Does the UK have a sufficient supply of critical materials to support vehicle battery production?

e)      Given that the UK is rely on importing more than 90 % of critical minerals (e.g. Li, Co, Mn, Ni, graphite) that are essential for battery production so the answer is not.

  1. What can the UK learn from investment in other countries in the establishment of gigafactories?

f)        Supporting the cutting-edge technologies that either help in secure critical minerals from secondary resources or developing new solutions.

g)       Protecting the know-how and scaling it up (from an idea to a factory scope).

h)      Attracting pioneers from abroad to help in

i)        Supporting the Universities that contact directly with industries.

j)        Circular economy approach to be deployed.

  1. Do we have the skills in the workforce required for the production of batteries? If not what needs to be done?

k)       We think yes. The main pain point is the lack of materials that build the batteries. Also, we do have a problem for the spent batteries recycling.

  1. Will the cost of UK batteries be competitive compared with batteries produced elsewhere?

l)        Such kind of info needs a lot of input to be fair comparison. However, we think the high labor cost in the UK may be the main hurdle for lowering the cost down compared to China for instance.

  1. What impact will the European Union’s proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism have on UK production?


m)    Will create a pressure to localize the secure of critical minerals as well as other batteries materials. Also, the workforce will be increased to meet the high demand of batteries.