Toyota to invest £240m in Burnaston factory
The manufacturing plan...
Japanese automotive giant, Toyota, is defying Brexit fears by investing £240 million in upgrading one of its UK factories.
The manufacturing plant in Burnaston, which makes the Toyota Auris and Avensis, will be updated to use its new global manufacturing system. The factory produced around 180,000 vehicles last year.
This investment aims to make the local area more competitive. Nigel Driffield, Professor of International Business and a researcher in foreign direct investment at Warwick Business School, offered the following expert opinion:
"Toyota’s announcement may be considered 'business as usual – for now'. The £240m investment is dwarfed by the proposed $10bn that the company intends to invest in the US over the next 5 years, and is an amount that is not much more than 'ticking over'.
"However, this announcement by Toyota is further evidence that the car industry is confident that even in the event of a hard Brexit it will get the type of support that it needs from the Government to remain competitive.
"It is likely that tariffs in the car industry will be low between the UK and Europe, and what companies are particularly concerned about is their supply chain. At the moment the main UK producers have supply chains which cross the channel a number of times, and this is especially true of the Japanese car manufacturers.
"These are particularly vulnerable to a hard Brexit, as both the tariff and non-tariff barriers that may arise will make co-ordinating such supply chains problematic.
"The Government, as well as local agencies, need to give careful thought to where local supply chains can be strengthened, and where the vulnerabilities to a hard Brexit are."
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Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.