The name should have been a clue: Britishvolt. Those of a certain vintage will remember that the last major automotive enterprise to brand itself in such patriotic fashion was British Leyland, which became a byword for manufacturing decline and failed industrial strategy. So the portents were never good.
Britishvolt’s collapse into administration this month was hardly a surprise; the vehicle-battery startup had been teetering on the edge for months. Yet the company’s failure still produced a bout of hand-wringing and existential angst. Former Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Andy Palmer called it an “unmitigated disaster” for the British auto industry, sentiments that were echoed by the shadow business secretary, Jonathan Reynolds. Parliament’s cross-party Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has started an inquiry into UK battery supply and manufacturing.