Chinese electric battery giant to build ‘gigafactories’ in England, France

Plans were announced this week for two new electric car battery plants in France and Britain involving Envision, the Shanghai-based company that has quietly built a global renewable energy empire.

CGTN has reports:

Nissan has launched plans for a vast battery plant, known as a gigafactory, in northeastern England, where it will manufacture new electric vehicles as companies and governments accelerate away from fossil-fuel cars.

Chinese battery supplier Envision AESC will invest $620 million to build the battery plant, which will run on renewable energy and be able to power up to 100,000 Nissan electric vehicles per year.

The move will create 6,200 jobs and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the post-Brexit investment totaling $1.38 billion at Nissan’s largest European factory “a major vote of confidence in the UK.”

Source: 1 July 2021

Nissan: gigafactory deal depends on Chinese capital

TNP provides further detail:

Chinese battery maker Envision will provide more than half of the capital for the collaboration. The UK government will get a fillip via jobs for a depressed city. The troubled Japanese carmaker stands to gain most.

Nissan will spend as much as $585m to produce a new electric crossover vehicle. Envision AESC, which took the name after Nissan sold its battery unit AESC to Envision Group in 2018, will invest $622m.

Envision’s investment should increase capacity more than fourfold to 9 gigawatt-hours (GWh). That is equivalent to batteries for 100,000 cars a year. Depending on sales, Envision may invest another $2.5bn to expand the plant to 25GWh by the end of the decade.

Nissan plans to export new crossovers built in Sunderland to the EU. Batteries, which generally make up about half the cost of an electric car, would have impeded this plan if they were Asian-made. At least 40 per cent of an EV by value has to be produced in the UK or EU to avoid tariffs until 2023. Thresholds rise after that. UK-made batteries should solve the problem.

Envision Group plans to spend €2bn ($2.38bn) a much bigger battery plant in northern France for new EVs made by Renault. The French carmaker is linked to Nissan via a fraught manufacturing and shareholding alliance. The partners should be able to realise big cost savings from using the same battery technology and supplier.

Renault and Nissan used different battery technologies for their Zoe and Leaf EVs. The Envision plant is expected to give Renault cost savings of up to 50 per cent on batteries by 2030. Similar savings should bolster Nissan too.

Source: 1 July 2021

About Envision

Employees work at the Envision battery manufacturing plant at Nissan's plant in Sunderland, north east England
 Envision battery manufacturing plant at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, north east England 

Envision was founded in 2007 after its founder Zhang Lei returned to China from the UK. Zhang, a former energy analyst, says his aim is to build “infrastructure for a net zero world.”

The company’s focus is on new sustainable energy technology and it has become one of the largest wind turbine technology companies in the world. Its products span wind energy and energy storage – from smart wind turbine manufacturing to integrated management systems. It now has plants in China, France, Mexico, Vietnam, Argentina, Montenegro, Kazakhstan and other countries.

At the time the company was founded, solar panels were the hot sector receiving political support from Chinese policymakers. But Envision, whose Chinese name “Yuanjing” means “prospect”, set its sights instead on wind turbines, which were then considered more inefficient. The company equips its turbines with sensors which it monitors in order to optimise their performance. Envision says it has installed more than 12,500 wind turbines worldwide.

While Envision brands itself as a champion of renewable energies, it has since branched into the electric car battery sector. The company’s automotive battery arm, Envision AESC, is headquartered in Japan and is responsible for its EV battery plant in Douai, France. Envision has equipped nearly 600,000 electric vehicles globally with its Envision AESC lithium-ion batteries.

Envision bought AESC, originally a subsidiary of Nissan, from the Japanese automaker in 2018. Another US-based subsidiary, BEAM, specialises in rapid charging technology for electric vehicles.

In addition to power generation, Envision develops software and technologies for energy management at research and development centres in the US, Germany, Denmark and Singapore.

Source: International Business Times, 7 July 2021

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply