UK faces EV battery import challenge: Aston University research reveals vulnerabilities

  • Aston University warns of UK lagging in global EV revolution due to heavy reliance on battery imports.
  • Proposed four-point plan includes seizing global opportunities, optimizing trade policies, and strategic EV battery investments.
  • Urgency emphasized due to swift industry changes; recommendations aim to fortify the UK’s position for sustained growth and innovation.

Aston University research reveals the UK may fall behind in the EV revolution

Aston University’s Centre for Business Prosperity warns that the UK might fall behind in the global electric vehicle (EV) revolution. The research underscores a critical reliance on battery imports, exceeding exports by 10.5 times.

In response, Aston University’s experts propose a four-point plan to strengthen the UK’s position in the fast-evolving EV market. The plan advocates seizing global opportunities, optimising trade policies, investing strategically in EV battery production, and creating a forward-looking industrial strategy.

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The report emphasises that the UK policymakers can’t keep up with the rapid pace of change. Germany leads in the value of EV exports, while China leads in sheer numbers.

The report outlines the challenges facing the UK’s automotive sector, including technological advancements, socioeconomic transformations, and Brexit complexities. Brexit, outlined in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, adds complexity. This is especially prevalent in navigating non-tariff measures and rules of origin influencing EV exports.

Despite advantages like a diversified export portfolio and modest reliance on global value chains (GVC), the report highlights short-term concerns within EV battery supply chains. Trade policy issues may evolve into medium-term dependencies on battery materials and production.

Jun Du, professor of economics at Aston Business School, said:

“Cultivating a resilient and competitive UK automotive industry demands policy ideas that align with the ever-evolving dynamics of the global electric vehicle market. Our research highlights the weakness of the UK’s current position and outlines the strategic interventions urgently needed to fortify the UK’s interests and navigate the transformative landscape of the electric vehicle revolution.

The implementation of these recommendations can effectively cement the UK’s leadership position in the realm of electric mobility, ensuring enduring growth, competitiveness, and innovation.”

As the UK grapples with the risk of continued dependency on battery imports, the report becomes a call to action. Implemented recommendations could position the UK as an electric mobility leader, ensuring growth, competitiveness, and innovation in the EV revolution.

Dr Oleksandr Shepotylo, senior lecturer in economics at Aston Business School, said:

“The report also shines a light on the level of Government intervention in the EU, US and China, as all have coherent industrial strategy that capitalise on the shift to Net Zero, whilst the UK does not, favouring a reactive sticking plaster approach, such as the short term extension of Rules of Origin deadline with the EU. Whilst this provides respite to the UK the risk is that the gap with its competitors widens.”

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