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CEO of £3.8m North East battery venture stands down

Lithium-ion battery detail

The founder and CEO of the company behind plans for a £3.8m battery gigafactory in the North East is stepping down.

Orral Nadjari is stepping aside following confirmation of government funding that will help Britishvolt build a 3,000-job electric vehicle battery plant on the Northumberland coast at Blyth.

The company confirmed in a statement that deputy CEO Graham Hoare has been appointed acting CEO at the business, adding that the shake up will “position the company for continued excellence as it rapidly moves towards full operational execution.”

Britishvolt plans to send its first cell samples to customers this summer, with testing indicating they will surpass quality and performance expectations.

Nadjari said: “I am extremely proud of what Britishvolt has achieved since the business was founded in 2019, exceeding all expectations and bringing my vision to life. In less than three years, we have created an enduring and sustainable organisation and remain focused to hit our mid-decade strategy of Phase One production at our UK Gigaplant. Although it was a difficult decision for me to step away from the operational management of the company, now is the right time for me to pass the reins, after laying the foundations, to our hugely talented, world-leading team, who will drive the business forwards as it enters the execution phase. They have my complete trust to take Britishvolt to the next level.”

Hoare added: “I express my thanks to Orral for his leadership during the embryonic stages of this amazing company. Orral provided powerful insights, and a tenacious approach, that ensured the early ideas for the company were brought to fruition. I thank him for his huge commitment, energy and contributions. I’m honoured to take the company forward, in the next chapter of our growth and industrialisation.”

Britishvolt hopes to produce more than 300,000 lithium-ion batteries a year at its Blyth site, making it the second gigafactory in the North East after the Envision AESC plant at Sunderland. The factory aims to create 3,000 direct and 5,000 indirect jobs once fully operational.

The company has previously struck deals with a number of companies to supply vital components needed to make the batteries, as well as arrangements with luxury car makers including Aston Martin and Lotus to design batteries for their electric cars.

Last week, the start-up manufacturer responded to reports that activity had stalled on site following a revision of its construction schedule by confirming that preparation for the structural steel work will take place in February. It added that its ability to change the construction schedule means it can find cost savings and better source materials amid global supply chain challenges.


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