Johnson Matthey, the UK’s largest sustainable technologies company, has pulled the plug on electric vehicle batteries.
The timing of this announcement is embarrassing for the UK’s green sector, killing off any hopes of UK battery sovereignty.
To say this is a U-turn from Johnson Matthey is an understament. By all accounts, they were expected to ramp up battery manufacturing to supply the UK’s car sector. In May, they announced a £600m investment in it!
The news means they will longer develop and manufacture cathodes for electric vehicles, so the UK will depend on foreign sources more than ever.
Why did Johnson Matthey pull the plug?
The best explanation comes from the source:
“Following a detailed review and ahead of reaching a number of critical investment milestones, we have concluded that the potential returns from our Battery Materials business will not be adequate to justify further investment.
Whilst demand for battery materials is accelerating, so is competition from alternative technologies and other manufacturers. Consequently, this is rapidly turning into a high volume, commoditised market.”Johnson Matthey
So, there we have it. Johnson Matthey pulled the plug on batteries because it couldn’t compete with bigger players with more extensive technologies.
With graphene EV batteries and other technologies vying to replace lithium-ion, it makes no wonder Johnson Matthey couldn’t compete.
Pulling the plug on batteries will enable the company to invest more in hydrogen and decarbonisation technologies. However, it leaves the UK without a significant domestic battery manufacturer.