Named as one of the six signings is new advisory board member Joe Bakaj, who joins Britishvolt with 30 years of experience in leadership roles throughout the automotive production sector.
Most recently, Bakaj served as vice-president of product development for Ford of Europe, overseeing the launch of crucial models including the Mondeo, S-Max, Kuga and Fiesta. He also spent time in Ford's Powertrain Engineering division, working specifically on the development of the firm's 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre Ecoboost engines.
Britishvolt claims total investment in its factory in the north-east of England will run to £2.6 billion, making it the largest industrial investment in the area since Nissan founded its Sunderland plant in 1984. It will create around 5000 jobs across the entire supply chain, including 3000 at the site itself.
"The position uses my experience to help the company in any way that I can," Bakaj explained to Autocar. "After 34 years in the auto industry, having worked on three different continents with different teams, I've got a lot of business and international experience, as well as automotive insight."
Bakaj's input will be welcomed by Britishvolt as it looks to ramp up operations at the UK's first 'gigafactory', swelling its team and implementing its series-production manufacturing processes. By 2027, the company plans to be building 300,000 EV batteries per year.
"My vision is well aligned with Britishvolt's strategy, which is one of the reasons why I joined the company," Bakaj said.
"It's around developing sustainable, accessible and differentiated technology for the industry. Across all the segments on which I've worked during my career, from commercial vehicles to sports cars, I know they're going to need different types of battery attributes, trade-offs and performances. And one of Britishvolt's big aims is customisation: working with OEM customers early to tailor batteries for the segment and the image they're trying to develop.
"You can imagine that a commercial vehicle battery will need a lot more durability, or 'life', and maybe not the power that a sports derivative would need."
Bakaj explained that Britishvolt will take advantage the UK's expanding battery ecosystem and take a leading role in modelling, simulation and faster development cycles for prototype batteries.
"If you can be faster on development cycles and you can be on the leading edge with simulation," Bakaj explained, "potentially you can start a bit earlier with your OEM customer and give them more development loops and trade-off flexibility within the battery.