The UK faces a huge “gigafactory gap”, with less battery production capacity than needed for the nation’s future needs, according to a report from the cross-party Business and Trade Select Committee. If the gap is not plugged, the committee says, automotive production in the UK could decline, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.

Using low-carbon energy sources, the UK could become a major centre for “midstream” refining processes for critical materials such as lithium.

Doing so would establish the UK as a “frontrunner” in building sustainable and ethical batteries, compared with those from China and European countries, the report found.

Currently, China accounts for 78 per cent of the world’s cathode production, and its dominance over large parts of the battery supply chain leaves battery makers exposed if exports of battery materials and components are restricted. 

The government informed the committee that it plans to publish an advanced manufacturing...