The UK car industry has received a much-needed boost as BMW announces a £600 million investment in its Oxford plant to produce electric Minis. This move comes in response to the increasing competition from China’s electric vehicle market, as the country aims to sell 1.5 million electric vehicles in Europe by 2030.
The UK car industry has been struggling since the start of the pandemic, with production falling by 40% due to plant closures, component shortages, and manufacturers moving their operations abroad. Brexit has also played a role, as Chinese automaker BYD blamed it for ruling out the UK as a location for its first European factory.
China’s incursion into Europe’s electric vehicle market was evident at the recent Munich motor show, where its carmakers occupied almost two-thirds of the floor space. China has built up its EV industry over the past 15 years and is now making a concerted push into Europe with plans for further expansion in the US and Europe. The country is also investing heavily in battery plants and the wider clean tech supply chain.
In response to China’s dominance in the electric vehicle market, the US has implemented the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes investments in clean tech, including electric vehicles and batteries. However, this investment has not been able to appease autoworkers, who are threatening to strike over pay, potentially causing a multibillion-dollar blow to the US economy.
In Europe, member states are being allowed to match incentives offered by other countries, and there have been calls for Brussels to do more to support the industry. The UK and Germany are also working to postpone tariffs on electric vehicle sales between the UK and the EU, as it has been warned that such tariffs would backfire.
Other countries are also taking measures to counter China’s dominance in the electric vehicle market. France has introduced subsidies for electric vehicles based on the emissions of their producers, which will impact Chinese manufacturers whose factories run on coal-generated electricity.
The UK is also exploring ways to reduce the environmental impact of aviation through the use of artificial intelligence. A £15 million project is underway to determine how AI can advise and eventually replace human air traffic controllers.
In other news, Singapore’s reputation as a safe and neutral haven for business has been dented by a billion-dollar money-laundering scandal, while Vietnam has strengthened ties with the US through a new comprehensive strategic partnership and semiconductor and AI deals.
North Korea is gradually easing its strict Covid-19 restrictions, ending a period of self-imposed isolation. Wilko, a UK high-street discount chain, is set to shut down all its remaining stores by early October after a rescue deal fell through. The poultry industry in the UK has also been hit by recent upheavals, highlighting the fragility of food systems.
Islamic scholars have ruled on how to make lab-grown meat halal, demonstrating the food industry’s efforts to cater to religious dietary rules. UK supermarkets are increasingly selling ads to consumer goods companies, similar to Amazon’s sponsored products feature, in an effort to boost revenues.
The music industry has managed to adapt and thrive in the digital era, dispelling fears of its demise. UK trade unions are reporting the government to the UN watchdog on workers’ rights over new anti-strike laws, arguing that they fall short of international standards.
Companies are adopting more flexible working patterns, offering employees increased flexibility in response to evolving work-life needs. While the boundaries between work and leisure time may have blurred with hybrid working, columnist Tim Harford emphasizes the importance of intentionally setting boundaries between the two.
In a remarkable recognition of their contribution, two 19th-century UK astronomers, Annie Maunder and Alice Everett, who charted the stars for minimal pay and died without receiving proper recognition, have had two asteroids named in their memory.
This article examines various news topics, ranging from the electric vehicle industry and global economic relationships to industry-specific developments and cultural affairs. It provides a comprehensive overview of recent happenings and offers insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by different sectors.