THE UK is “too late” to develop electric vehicle battery production in time to meet an EU trade deadline, a senior automotive industry figure has said.

Dr Andy Palmer told MPs that post-Brexit rules mean goods sold in the EU by UK manufacturers will need certain percentages of local content from 2024 to avoid tariffs.

This has led to fears that exports of electric cars will be hit due to the lack of battery production in the UK.

Dr Palmer, former chief executive of Aston Martin and now chairman of electric battery company InoBat, told the Commons’ Business and Trade Select Committee: “We are too late against the current timings because the current timing requires us to have local content in 2024 through 2026.”

He said the UK will have to “renegotiate the conditions that were set” with the EU but “fortunately” the bloc is also struggling to ramp up battery production.

He added: “To alleviate a little bit of the crisis that we’re now faced with because of our lack of action, we have the opportunity to both welcome what the EU will allow for the EU but also make it a little bit easier in the UK to give our industry the opportunity to catch up.”

Konstanze Scharring, director of policy at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “We haven’t missed the boat (on battery production).

“It is definitely leaving and the engines are running but we have a really good window of opportunity and we need to take it now.

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“If you look at our industry and its investment over the last 10 years, £11 billion has been invested already into electrification here in UK.

“There is an opportunity now with the right conditions and the right package and strategy to try and make us competitive and put us on a level playing field when there is an international race for investment.”