Battery and hybrid train manufacturer Vivarail announces intention to appoint administrators

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Vivarail, the first and only company in the UK to design and build zero emission battery and hybrid battery trains, has announced its intention to appoint administrators.

Established in 2013 by industry veteran, Adrian Shooter CBE, Vivarail has dedicated the past nine years to investigating, trialling, developing, and testing battery technology for rail, which includes the development of its own patented Fast Charge system, able to re-charge a battery-powered train in just 10 minutes.

Since inception, it has benefitted from the financial support of a sole investment partner. However, having agreed to operate without reliance on further funding in early 2022, Vivarail’s Board of Directors approved a sale process and have been working hard to attract new investors

Although the firm has received a positive level of interest in recent months given its exciting pipeline of growth opportunities, the board faced no choice but to file a Notice of Intention to appoint Administrators with the Courts on November 23, 2022.

Steve McBride, managing director of Vivarail, explained, “The Board and I have worked incredibly hard to secure new investment in recent months, and although we have been encouraged by the level of interest, time is now against us to allow potential investors to step in. Combined with slow market conditions and delays in reaching certain key commercial arrangements we have had no choice but to file a Notice of Intention to appoint Administrators with the Courts.

“The next few weeks undoubtedly represents a degree of uncertainty for everyone connected to Vivarail, including our 70 employees who have shown incredible commitment and dedication to decarbonising our railway. During this time management, the Board of Directors and our advisors will leave no stone unturned in finding a solution.

“We will now be consulting with our customers and other stakeholders to try and drive the business forwards, but we must be realistic in that if we are unable to deliver a rescue package Administration will unfortunately be inevitable," McBride added.

Headquartered in Southam, Vivarail has been at the forefront of decarbonising the rail industry in recent years. In early 2023, Vivarail’s Class 230 unit and its Fast Charge rapid charging equipment is set to replace Great Western Railway’s existing West Ealing - Greenford service, which will represent a historical and innovative shift toward zero-emission travel within the UK.