Britishvolt ‘moved too fast’, says former boss Lars Carlstrom

Posted on November 1, 2022Comments Off on Britishvolt ‘moved too fast’, says former boss Lars Carlstrom

Britishvolt ‘moved too fast’, says former boss after company is saved from collapse after securing a last-minute funding lifeline

Criticism: Lars Carlstrom, who resigned as chairman of Britishvolt in December 2020, said the right people may not have been in charge

The former boss of Britishvolt has turned on its current management after the firm narrowly avoided collapse by securing a last-minute funding lifeline.

Lars Carlstrom, who resigned as chairman in December 2020, queried whether the right people were in charge of the project, which ‘accelerated too fast with too many people on board’.

The former boss of Britishvolt has turned on its current management after the firm narrowly avoided collapse by securing a last-minute funding lifeline.

The former boss of Britishvolt has turned on its current management after the firm narrowly avoided collapse by securing a last-minute funding lifeline.

He said: ‘We could probably have seen a more prosperous project if a number of things had been done in a different way.’

His comments came after Britishvolt secured an 11th-hour package from investors to keep it afloat after reports emerged it was on the brink of falling into administration, putting some 300 UK jobs at risk.

The company has been developing Britain’s biggest electric car battery plant in Blyth, Northumberland, with the £3.8billion ‘gigafactory’ set to employ up to 3,000 by the time it was fully operational. 

But the group struggled amid delays and the resignation of its co-founder and then boss Orral Nadjari in August. It was left scrambling for emergency funding to stop itself going bust.

Matters were made even worse after ministers scrapped plans to inject £100million into the company when it discovered the cash would be used to keep it afloat rather than constructing the Blyth factory.

Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, Carlstrom said the Government could have made ‘a very good return’ on its investment in Britishvolt but admitted he disagreed with the way the firm was run.

He quit after it emerged he had been convicted of tax fraud in Sweden in the 90s, although he maintained the main reason he left had been due to disagreements about how to run the business. 

He said: ‘There are some shortcomings and the reason for my exit was that we couldn’t agree. 

‘There were collaboration issues and we couldn’t agree on how to take this forward in a good way.’

Carlstrom added that someone had ‘fuelled’ the news of his tax conviction to ‘make my exit go smoother and faster’.

Britishvolt was set up in 2019 to make batteries for electric cars and help power a green energy revolution in Britain.

The plans for Blyth were hailed as a ‘levelling-up opportunity’ by then PM Boris Johnson. 

The Government’s £100million funding helped the firm raise another £1.7billion. 

But with its future in doubt, potential buyers are circling the factory – considered one of the best battery manufacturing sites in Europe thanks to its rail and sea links and access to clean energy.

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