Beleaguered battery darling Britishvolt has said that comparing the price points for Chinese and British electric vehicle (EV) batteries is like “comparing apples with pears and not a fair reflection”.
The firm responded to claims made by an unnamed potential customer, quoted in The Telegraph yesterday, that its lithium-ion batteries were up to a third more expensive than competitors.
Ben Kilbey, a spokesperson for Britishvolt, told City A.M.: “Although we do not comment on market speculation, nor our pricing strategies that are commerciality sensitive and under strict NDAs, we would like to make the point that Britishvolt did not enter the market in a race to the bottom.
“Our battery cells and technologies are designed to be both low carbon and cutting edge, not another ‘me too’ product. We offer customers what they want, not off the shelf solutions.”
China has been accused of pricing European electric vehicle players out of the market, due in part to a head start in the space and that the country owns its lithium mines, which means local businesses are not paying a premium for imported material.
“In terms of comparing prices to cheaper regions, where cells are often produced using fossil fuel fired power, that is like comparing apples with pears and not a fair reflection,” added Kilbey.
“As regulation continues to ramp up in the West, in the race to [net] zero, demand for premium cells made with renewable energy will only increase. We are designing localised products for shorter, more ESG friendly, supply chains.”
Last month, the CEO of Fiat and Peugot carmaker Stellantis, Carlos Tavares, warned that fellow automotive firms in Europe are at risk of going bust as Chinese EVs flood the market.
Speaking to Top Gear, he urged for tariffs to be stamped onto EVs from China to protect homegrown businesses.
The UK has “fundamentally lagged” behind China, as well as Korea, Taiwan and the US, when it comes to technology transitions such as automotive electrification, according to Dan Ridsdale, director of tech, media and telecoms at investment research group Edison.
“This lack of long-term thinking has impacted the growth of our economy and the performance of our stock market. The lack of exposure to structural growth is one of the key causes for the FTSE 100’s long term underperformance versus other indices,” he told City A.M.
“A modern, balanced growth economy needs a strong high technology manufacturing sector and investment participants across the spectrum – government, private and public equity need to help drive this change.”