New IAMP gigafactory will ‘manufacture batteries on a scale never seen before in this country’
A ceremony on Friday (December 9) marked the official start of work on the massive new Envision AESC plant on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) being developed by Sunderland and South Tyneside Councils.
The event saw dozens of guests who have played a part in bringing the plant to IAMP invited to sign a girder which will become part of the building before Envision CEO Shoici Matsumoto and Sir James Wates CBE, chair of construction contractor Wates Group, tightened a bolt on its ‘first pillar’ – a traditional Japanese custom on construction projects.
Once complete, it is expected to produce enough batteries to power more than 100,000 electric vehicles and create about 1,000 jobs, more than doubling Envision’s UK workforce.
The new building – the firm’s second battery plant on the wider Nissan manufacturing site – will be the size of 23 football pitches and use more than 19,000 tonnes of steel.
Mr Matsumoto told guests: “This is a prestigious day.
“This ceremony marks the start of work on out second gigafactory and a major step forward for the electric vehicle sector in the UK.”
READ MORE: Major expansion plans approved for IAMP business park on Sunderland-South Tyneside border
He also paid tribute to Nissan and the region’s councils, calling them 'fantastic partners in our ambition to make the North East a leader in green tech and sustainable manufacturing’.
And he promised the plant would allow battery manufacturing “on a scale never seen” in the UK.
“It will take our workforce to more than 1,000, more than doubling the number of people we employ in the UK, and create many jobs in construction and our expanding supply chain,” Mr Matsumoto added.
“This is an exciting time for Envision. We have many challenges ahead and great ambitions to achieve them.”
Sunderland City Council’s executive director of city development Peter McIntyre said the new factory was an exciting part of the development of IAMP.
"What we are seeing today is ‘levelling up’ on an enormous scale,” he said.
"This investment vindicated the unwavering belief we have had in our ability to make the dream a reality.”