The rescue of collapsed electric van pioneer Modec is vital for the UK in maintaining its lead in low-carbon vehicle production, automotive experts have warned.
The firm, which exports electric trucks worldwide from its Coventry base, called in administrators last month.
It had operated at a loss since 2004 when it was set up by former Manganese Bronze chairman Lord Borwick, and its collapse came after a rescue deal with American joint venture partner Navistar fell through at the last minute.
Electric van sales had proved disappointing in the recession and the firm had pinned its hopes for survival on securing the deal.
On a visit to Coventry, Prime Minister David Cameron, who officially opened Modec in 2007, told the Birmingham Post: “I wish for a good outcome because there is no doubt in my mind that we are going to see a lot of road transport move toward electric vehicles and this was something of a pathfinder.”
Modec’s collapse alarmed automotive sector experts, who fear its technology and intellectual property could be snapped up by an overseas buyer.
Despite high oil prices, take-up of Modec’s vans was limited, although major companies such as Tesco, UPS and Fedex had trialled the vehicles.
It has six dealerships around the M25.
Administrators from Zolfo Cooper were called in last month and immediately made 26 people, half its workforce, redundant.
They hope to sell Modec as a going concern.
Oxfordshire electric car business Liberty Cars has shown interest.
Its managing director Ian Hobday said it “borders on criminal” that a company at the forefront of electric vehicle technology should not get better support.