£1bn battery gigafactory for UK

£1bn battery gigafactory for UK

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

EV36Zero is a £1bn (€1.17bn) flagship Electric Vehicle (EV) Hub that Nissan says is the world’s first EV manufacturing ecosystem.

The hub is based around a new 9GWh battery gigafactory to be built by AESC Envision with its own microgrid for renewable energy supply, which could see a total of £1.8bn (€2bn) investment. The plant will also take batteries at the end of their life in vehicles and repurpose them for second life applications such as a 1MW energy storage system at the site.

Envision AESC will integrate machine learning into its manufacturing systems to use AIoT systems to monitor and optimize energy consumption, manufacturing and maintenance at the plant. This will enable rapid increases in production and provide batteries to power up to 100,000 Nissan electric vehicles a year says the company.

The UK car industry yesterday called for six such plants to guarantee 60GWh of battery manufacturing capacity a year. BritishVolt moved its proposed 30GWh battery gigafactory from Wales to nearby Blyth earlier this year.

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Envision AESC will spend £450m (€523m) on the gigafactory on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP). This will build the fifth generation of battery, which will cut costs and boost energy density by 30 percent, says Envision.

“Growth in demand could bring future investment of up to £1.8bn, additional capacity of 25GWh and 4,500 jobs by 2030. This 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,” said Lei Zhang, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Envision Group”

The formal planning process is about to begin for the battery gigafactory. The interconnected projects will create 900 jobs at Nissan and 750 at Envision, with another 5000 in UK supply base. The microgrid could stimulate up to ten solar farms generating 132MW with a direct connection to the plant, boosting demand for solar panels and power inverters.

“This project comes as part of Nissan’s pioneering efforts to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the entire lifecycle of our products. Our comprehensive approach includes not only the development and production of EVs, but also the use of on-board batteries as energy storage and their reuse for secondary purposes,” said Makoto Uchida, Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer.

“Our announcement today comes out of lengthy discussions held within our teams, and will greatly accelerate our efforts in Europe to achieve carbon neutrality. The experience and know-how gained through the project announced today will be shared globally, enhancing Nissan’s global competitiveness,” he said.

“This is a landmark day for Nissan, our partners, the UK and the automotive industry as a whole. Nissan EV36Zero will transform the idea of what is possible for our industry and set a roadmap for the future for all,” said Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer, Ashwani Gupta at the plant.

As part of the hub, Nissan will invest up to £423m to produce a new-generation all-electric vehicle in the UK. This will be based on the CMF-EV platform developed by the Nissan-Renault Alliance for global markets and export to Europe, with a capacity of 100,000 vehicles a year.

“We reached a new frontier with the Nissan LEAF, the world’s first mass-market all-electric vehicle. Now, with our partners, Nissan will pioneer the next phase of the automotive industry as we accelerate towards full electrification and carbon neutrality,” said Gupta.

The EV production in Sunderland will create 909 new jobs at the plant, and more than 4,500 in the UK supply chain, while safeguarding a further 75 R&D jobs at Nissan’s European Technical Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire.

Envision AESC already owns and operates Europe’s first battery plant, established alongside the Nissan plant in Sunderland in 2012 for the localization of Nissan LEAF battery production. .

“The Envision Group mission is to be the net zero technology partner of choice for global enterprises, governments, and cities. We are therefore delighted to be a part of EV36Zero with Nissan and Sunderland City Council. As part of this, Envision AESC will invest £450m in a new, cutting-edge, low-carbon gigafactory in Sunderland creating 700 new jobs,” said Zhang at Envision. “This commitment builds on our long-term partnership with Nissan to achieve our global ambition to make high performance, longer range batteries for EVs affordable and accessible for millions more motorists.”

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