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Envision joins race to build UK’s first lithium-ion gigafactory

Thu, 07/08/2021 - 11:25 -- Paul Crompton
Envision joins race to build UK’s first lithium-ion gigafactory

Envision Group has joined the race to build the UK’s first lithium-ion gigafactory that will form part of a £1 billion ($1.3 billion) electric vehicle hub.

The company will invest £450 million ($622 million) to build the gigafactory on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).

Formal planning for an initial 9GWh plant is about to begin, with Envision potentially investing up to £1.8 billion ($2.4 billion) to reach to 25GWh capacity by 2030 with potential on site for up to 35GWh. 

Envision AESC, the battery arm of Envision Group, already owns and operates a battery plant in Sunderland, established in 2012 to supply batteries to Nissan.

Envision plans to manufacture batteries for up to 100,000 Nissan electric vehicles a year at the gigafactory that will sit opposite the Nissan plant.

Lei Zhang, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Envision Group, said: "His commitment builds on our long-term partnership with Nissan. It will put the North East at the heart of a new EV hub in the UK, collaborating on R&D around the whole battery lifecycle, from storage, to second life use, V2G smart charging and closed loop recycling." 

The gigafactory is part of the Nissan EV36Zero hub, which will bring together electric vehicles, renewable energy and battery production at one site. 

The billion-dollar project has been launched with investment by Nissan, Envision AESC, and Sunderland City Council.

Nissan will invest up to £423 million ($585 million) to produce a new-generation all-electric vehicle in the UK. 

Nissan started production in Sunderland in July 1986. 

Race to build a gigafactory

According to the Faraday Institution, the UK will need eight gigafactories to meet domestic demand from EV and energy storage system developers.

Joining the race for the UK’s first gigafactory is Britishvolt, which announced last December it was set to build its plant in the North East of England— five months after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Welsh government.

The company plans to begin construction of its plant in the Summer of 2021 after acquiring exclusive rights to a site in Blyth Northumberland. 

Read more about the Britishvolt’s plans in the Autumn 2020 edition of BEST magazine HERE

France gigafactory

Envision AESC is partnering with Renault Group to develop a 9GWh gigafactory in Douai by 2024, with aim of reaching 24GWh six-years later. 

Envision will invest up to €2 billion ($2.3 billion) to produce batteries for electric models, including the future Renault R5, at the plant in Douai situated near to Renault ElectriCity production sites at Douai, Maubeuge and Ruitz.

Lei Zhang, founder and chief executive officer of Envision Group, said: “This first phase development will unlock future large-scale investment to grow the local supply chain and develop the whole life cycle opportunities of batteries, including energy storage, battery reuse, smart charging and closed loop recycling.”


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