The planned Envision AESC battery factory at the Nissan plant in Sunderland, England, will have an annual capacity of 11 GWh when it opens in 2024 and an annual capacity of up to 38 GWh in a potential final expansion stage. Both figures exceed those previously made public.
According to the original announcement, the planned plant would initially have an annual capacity of 9 GWh, grow to 25 GWh by 2030 and potentially be able to produce up to 35 GWh annually. In an interview with the Financial Times, Envision CEO Zhang Lei now gave the new targets. This is a moderate upward adjustment of the plans: 11 instead of 9 GWh at the beginning and 38 instead of 35 GWh as a potential maximum.
From 2024, the batteries produced in Sunderland will be installed, among others, in Nissan’s directly neighbouring vehicle plant. There, for example, an e-crossover based on the CMF EV platform is to be produced, which will replace the Nissan Leaf from around 2025. However, Zhang told the Financial Times that the company is also in talks with other global carmakers to supply batteries from Sunderland, among others (rumoured to be with Jaguar Land Rover, for example). The company is also looking for sites for new gigafactories in Europe and is considering investing in battery materials such as lithium to ensure supply.
Since Nissan sold its battery subsidiary AESC to Envision Group in 2018, Envision AESC is already known to operate a small plant in Sunderland with an annual output of 1.9 GWh. There are other plants in Japan and the United States. Annual production capacity totals 7.5 GWh – 3 GWh in the US state of Tennessee, 2.6 GWh in Kanagawa, Japan, and the said 1.9 GWh in Sunderland, UK, according to the company. AESC Envision has also started construction of a plant in Wuxi, China in 2019, which is expected to have an annual capacity of 20 GWh. According to a company presentation from this summer, the first construction phase with a capacity of 3 GWh was commissioned there in the spring.
In addition to the Gigafactory in the UK, two further battery factories have now been announced – both also in the context of companies in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. In June it became known that the Chinese company is building a battery factory for Renault near its Douai plant in northern France. Commissioning is also targeted for 2024, and the cells will be used in the new Renault 5, among other vehicles.
According to a recent Bloomberg report, Nissan and Envision AESC are also planning another battery factory in Japan. The battery factory in the Ibaraki prefecture north of Tokyo is to go into operation in 2023 with an annual capacity of 6 GWh and be expanded to 18 GWh within five years. There were already rumours to this effect at the end of May.
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