Envision AESC seeks planning permission for UK first 'at scale' Gigafactory to support electric vehicle production in North East
July 29, 2021
Envision AESC - the world-leading battery division of global green tech company Envision Group - has today submitted plans for the UK's first at scale battery manufacturing plant at the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), being brought forward by Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council.
The 9GWh-capacity Gigafactory, with state-of-the-art battery technology, will form part of a £1bn partnership with Nissan UK and Sunderland City Council to create an electric vehicle hub supporting next generation EV production and accelerating the transition to net zero carbon mobility.
Subject to planning permission, Envision AESC will invest £450m as part of the transformational project, creating 750 green jobs and safeguarding 300 jobs from its existing Sunderland plant. Construction is due to begin in 2022 to support battery production in 2024, which will pave the way for potential future investment of £1.8bn on the site to generate 35GWh capacity and 4,500 new high value green jobs.
The company's existing Sunderland plant has been supplying batteries to Nissan for the LEAF electric vehicle for the last nine years. The new scaled up Gigafactory will produce batteries to power more than 100,000 EVs annually, using new Gen5 battery cells with a third more energy density to improve range, efficiency and exceptional performance, including 100 per cent safety record/zero critical incidents.
This investment will not only power Nissan's next generation EVs, but also support the growing localisation of vehicle parts and components production, advancing technology and making batteries and EVs cheaper and more accessible to a growing number of customers.
Envision AESC's new Gigafactory at IAMP will be its greenest to date, powered by 100 per cent renewable energy and supported by a £80m microgrid being developed by Sunderland City Council. The plant will also deploy integrated AIoT smart technology to monitor and optimise energy consumption, predict demand and maintenance requirements and utilise battery storage facilities to manage energy supply intermittency.
Envision AESC UK Managing Director Chris Caygill said: 'Envision AESC runs the world's best battery plants in terms of automation, productivity and quality. If planning permission is granted for this transformational project we will accelerate the transition to net zero carbon neutrality by providing state of the art batteries for 100,000 more electric vehicles a year and helping make EVs more affordable.
'It is down to the innovation and ingenuity of the highly skilled employees at our existing plant that we are able to take this next important step. Their remarkable achievements have supported our global ambition to make high performance, longer range, zero critical incident batteries for hundreds of thousands of motorists in the last decade.
'As we embark on the next stages of this journey, we're proud to be partners with Nissan and Sunderland City Council leading a green industrial revolution to drive truly sustainable growth opportunities in the region for next generations. We look forward to what we can do together to push the boundaries of battery technology, investing in cutting edge technology and localising a growing supply base as part of a net zero electrification hub.'
The planning application follows a public consultation exercise with local stakeholders and residents which received 80 per cent positive support. It will be the largest facility on IAMP if approved and represents a significant step forward for the 150-hectare site, which was created by South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council in 2014 to attract business investment to the region, with enabling works carried out in 2018.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: 'We all knew the potential of IAMP, given its close proximity to Nissan and the exceptional infrastructure supporting it, but the rapid transformation of this site from undeveloped land into a powerhouse advanced manufacturing site shows the level of ambition of IAMP LLP.
'Envision AESC will create high-quality jobs for local people - green jobs, producing green products, supported by green energy to power green cars. We're delighted that this project is moving forward and will continue to play a pivotal, proactive role in supporting job creation in the area.'
George Mansbridge, corporate director for regeneration and environment at South Tyneside Council, said: "Just a few weeks on from the fantastic £1bn announcement to create an electric vehicle hub in the region, which will include the development of Envision AESC's gigafactory, and the wheels are already in motion to move this exciting project forward.
"It's a huge step forward and we're thrilled that - so soon from announcement - the project is moving forward with this planning application that will pave the way to create a facility that will initially create hundreds and then thousands of new jobs for our residents."
IAMP has been backed by the UK Government through the Local Growth Fund through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) towards infrastructure including new roads, bridges and environmental enhancements to support the development. The Local Growth Fund resource is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport as part of the North East Growth Deal.
As a 'Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, the UK government has also committed £42m through the North East LEP to fund new infrastructure, including roads, bridges and environmental improvements.
Helen Golightly, Chief Executive at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "The North East is set to play a leading role in the UK's transition to a greener economy, as we work towards achieving the government's Net Zero target.
"With our existing skills base, supply chain and infrastructure, the addition of Envision AESC's Gigafactory will further cement the North East as a leading light in renewable energy, and we are looking forward to seeing it take shape and bring more and better jobs to our region."