World-leading Japanese electric vehicle battery technology company Envision AESC has begun construction of its latest UK-based ‘gigafactory’, celebrating a decade of production on Wearside. The first electric vehicle battery built back there was back in 2012, to support production of the first-generation Nissan LEAF.
The company has doubled in size since production began and today employs more than 470 people in Sunderland. AESC’s second battery plant in the area will have capacity of 12 GWh and will employ more than a 1,000 people when operational in 2025. It will be powered by 100% net zero carbon energy, aligning with the company’s global commitment to sustainability. The state-of-the-art facility is part of a wider £1bn partnership with Nissan and Sunderland City Council and is one of three interconnected initiatives which form the Nissan EV36Zero electric vehicle hub. Bringing together electric vehicles, renewable energy and battery production, the aim is for EV36Zero to set a blueprint for the future of the automotive industry, supporting next generation EV production and accelerating the transition to net zero carbon mobility.
A traditional Japanese first pillar ceremony marked the first phase of work, with AESC CEO Shoichi Matsumoto tightening the bolt on the building’s ‘first pillar’ a traditional Japanese custom on construction projects. Globally AESC batteries are found in 800,000 electric vehicles and the new plant will produce its latest generation, with 30% more energy density to improve range and efficiency, and manufacture enough batteries to power 100,000 electric vehicles annually.
Nissan Europe Vice President of Engineering Andy Marsh explained how the first Sunderland battery plant helped launch the 100% electric Nissan LEAF and expects the second factory to become “a fundamental part of our EV36Zero project, which brings together electric vehicle production, battery manufacturing and renewables as we drive towards carbon neutrality”.
As the latest investment by Envision AESC to help scale up EV manufacturing capabilities in strategically important regions, the plant follows last year’s announcements to build ‘gigafactories’ in Douai, France, Kentucky US, Ibaraki Japan, and Extremadura Spain. This brings Envision AESC’s total capacity to more than 150GWh worldwide and advances its commitment to reach 300GWh by 2026.
Envision AESC is a global battery technology company headquartered in Zama, Japan, and committed to research, development, design, manufacturing and sales of power batteries for EVs and energy storage batteries. Envision AESC has 5,600 employees and 12 manufacturing sites in Japan, U.S., U.K., France, Spain and China. In the past 12 years, Envision AESC has produced power batteries for more than 800,000 electric vehicles in 59 countries, achieving a record of ‘zero critical battery malfunction.’