Work starts on massive new 1,000-job electric car battery plant near Nissan

Work starts today on a massive new electric car battery plant expected to create around 1,000 jobs.

Envision AESC has started construction of its latest gigafactory near Sunderland’s Nissan plant.

The firm’s second Sunderland plant will have a capacity of 12 GWh and produce enough batteries to power more than 100,000 electric vehicles.

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It will build AESC’s latest generation of battery, with 30% more energy capacity, offering improved range and efficiency.

The factory is part of a wider £1billion n partnership with Nissan and Sunderland City Council to create EV36Zero, an electric vehicle hub supporting next generation electric vehicle (EV) production and accelerating the transition to net zero carbon mobility.

The company is holding as Japanese first pillar ceremony today, Friday, December 9, with AESC CEO Shoichi Matsumoto tightening the bolt on the building’s ‘first pillar’ a traditional Japanese custom on construction projects.

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The ceremony also marks a decade of EV battery production on Wearside, with the first electric vehicle battery built 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.

How the new plant will lookHow the new plant will look
How the new plant will look

The footprint of the new building will be the equivalent of 23 football pitches and it will use 14000 km of mains cables, enough to stretch to the AESC HQ in Japan.

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More than 19,000 tonnes of steel will be used and the 360m long building will be longer than the nearby Northern Spire bridge,

Construction of the new building on IAMP - which spans land in South Tyneside and Sunderland - is being managed by leading privately-owned UK construction company, Wates Group and will pave the way for potential future investment that could eventually see the site generate 4,500 new high value green jobs.

South Tyneside Council leader Coun Tracey Dixon added : “This is an exciting milestone and further testament to what a superb asset IAMP is for the region.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside CouncilCouncillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council
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“We are already leading the way in low carbon innovation and this facility will help ensure that South Tyneside residents are right at the forefront of the green revolution.

Envision AESC CEO Shoichi Matsumoto said: “The first pillar event marks the latest phase of Envision AESC’s investment in the UK and is a sign of our ongoing commitment to Sunderland.

“I want to pay tribute to the fantastic team in Sunderland who over the past decade have helped ensure each and every battery is built without compromise and helped make AESC a leading battery supplier.”

Sunderland City Council Leader Coun Graeme Miller, said: “As work begins on Envision AESC’s landmark new Gigafactory, we are accelerating our journey towards a greener, more sustainable future in the North East both in advanced manufacturing and in transport.

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Sunderland City Council Leader Cllr Graeme Miller.Sunderland City Council Leader Cllr Graeme Miller.
Sunderland City Council Leader Cllr Graeme Miller.

"This is a milestone moment for the city.”

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Nissan Europe Vice President, Engineering, Andy Marsh said the plant was a huge step forward: “We are delighted to be part of today’s ground breaking ceremony for Envision AESC’s new gigafactory.

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“The first Sunderland battery plant helped launch the 100% electric Nissan LEAF and the second factory will be a fundamental part of our EV36Zero project, which brings together electric vehicle production, battery manufacturing and renewables as we drive towards carbon neutrality.”