The propellers that power Britain’s electric vehicles are falling off.
The world’s biggest manufacturer of jet engines, Pratt & Johnson, has announced it will no longer produce engines for electric vehicles, ending more than four decades of production and raising fears the industry is being sold off to foreign buyers.
Johnson is one of the world’s largest engines makers, supplying engines to aircrafts, warships and helicopters.
It is the only major US company not to produce engines in the US, but the US Department of Energy (DOE) said the decision was based on its “strong desire to reduce our reliance on imported engines”.
“We are concerned that our global competitive position may be threatened if we cannot continue to supply the engine manufacturers with a large portion of their demand,” the DOE said in a statement.
“The DOE is committed to continuing to make the best-quality engines possible, but with the need to address supply constraints, we will not be purchasing engines from Pratt &amidsons.”
The move will leave Pratt &ams, which is based in New York, without a global presence and its products are unlikely to be seen in any future electric vehicle launch, said David St. Clair, senior vice president at US company GMP.
He said it was the latest example of how the US is losing its competitive edge in the technology sector, and it could mean a big change in how the UK markets its cars.
US carmaker General Motors also stopped making engines for plug-in hybrids in 2013, leaving only the Chevy Bolt EV, which was the first mass-market plug-ins.
But with the UK being hit by a sharp decline in demand for petrol and diesel, many believe the US could be losing its ability to compete against foreign rivals.
In the last two years, the cost of a new plug-In hybrid has fallen to under £100,000 from around £250,000 in the UK.
While it is not the end of the battle for the US engine manufacturers, Mr St. Claire said Pratt &ammns decision to end its relationship with the US would mean “it would be a very short-term loss” for the UK, which already had a significant share of the global market.
Dr Chris Clements, who heads Pratt &ing, said he had no further comment on the matter.
Mr St. Clare said Pratt had “a strong commitment to our US customers” and he hoped the UK government would be able to negotiate with Pratt to keep the company in the country.
This is a huge blow to us, it’s not just a short-run loss but a long-term one.
Pratt &s, which employs more than 400,000 people worldwide, said it would be “making the most of the opportunities” in the future.
A spokesperson for Pratt said: “Pratt has long had a strong relationship with its US manufacturing partner General Motors.
However, the United States has historically been the global leader in the production of electric vehicles and we have seen our supply chains move from the US to other countries.”
Dr St Clair said the US had the ability to negotiate for the continued production of Pratt & amps engines.
If the US does not agree to extend the contract, Pratt will be able negotiate with a “third party” and if that does not work, it will continue to make engines in England, he said.
After the US announcement, the UK Government announced plans to increase the fuel economy of the fleet by as much as 30% by 2025.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for General Motors said the company was committed to producing engines for the electric vehicles.
General Motors also said it had received assurances from the government that the US government would not be able “to impose an export ban on UK production”.
But it added that it was committed “to continuing to meet the requirements of our customers and to providing our engine customers with reliable, low-cost, low cost-of-ownership engines”.