Envision AESC to build another battery plant in South Carolina
Battery cell manufacturer Envision AESC has announced constructing another factory in the USA. 810 million dollars will go into the construction of the new plant with a targeted annual capacity of 30 GWh in Florence, South Carolina. However, the construction had been announced.
Envision AESC will supply round cells from the new factory to BMW’s Spartanburg plant, where BMW plans to produce at least six all-electric BMW X models by 2030. Envision AESC is one of three battery partners for BMW’s New Class, along with Chinese manufacturers CATL and Eve Energy.
Through the partnerships, BMW wants to purchase the battery cells where the production also takes place (“local for local”). For Europe, for example, this means that BMW will source for the Debrecen plant (where production of the New Class is to start in 2025) from the CATL plant, which is also being built in the Hungarian city. And in the USA, the threads come together in South Carolina, where BMW operates the Spartanburg vehicle plant (primarily for SUV models).
However, a longer transport route for the battery cells will be necessary in South Carolina than in Debrecen: the Envision site in Florence is located more to the east of the state, about 130 kilometres east of the city of Columbia. The BMW plant in Spartanburg, however, is located in northwestern South Carolina, about 270 kilometres driving distance from Florence.
The round cells required by BMW will have a uniform diameter of 46 millimetres and two different heights (format: 46XX). In November, there was a media report that the BMW round cells will be 120 millimetres high in SUV models and 95 millimetres high in sedans. This is not only more than Tesla’s large round cells (80 millimetres), but also more than expected – previously it was assumed that they would be 40 or 60 millimetres. However, these values have not been confirmed by BMW.
The battery cell manufacturer will increase its production capacity in the USA to more than 70 GWh with the new plant, which will complement an existing battery production facility in Tennessee (near the Nissan plant there) and a factory under construction in Kentucky (for the Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa, among others).
Envision AESC is headquartered in Japan and was founded in 2007 as a joint venture between three Japanese companies. As the focus of the Automotive Energy Supply Company (AESC) was on electric vehicles from the beginning, Nissan was the largest shareholder with 51 per cent. In 2018, however, the Chinese company Envision acquired a majority stake in AESC.
Since this takeover, Envision AESC already has a cell factory in the USA: not far from the Nissan vehicle plant in Smyrna (Tennessee), Envision AESC produces battery cells for the Japanese manufacturer.