Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Over 1,000 new jobs to be created as AESC receives £200M loan for new gigafactory

AESC, a prominent electric battery manufacturer, is gearing up to create hundreds of new jobs this year. With the backing of a £200m government loan, the company is moving forward with plans to establish a state-of-the-art gigafactory.

This initiative signals a significant boost to the local economy and underscores AESC’s commitment to innovation and growth.

Sunderland’s AESC is ramping up with a massive £450m project, constructing its second plant. Teaming up with Nissan and Sunderland City Council, they’re turbocharging the regional economy and strengthening the UK’s EV supply chain.

With over a decade operating in the North East, the Japanese firm has been a cornerstone, churning out EV batteries for Nissan. Since it began, it has doubled in size, boasting a workforce of over 470 in Sunderland alone. The existing 1.8GWh facility, inaugurated in 2012, stands as the UK’s sole operational gigafactory, a testament to its pioneering role in driving the nation’s electric mobility revolution.

The UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB), backed by HM Treasury, is providing a £200m bridging loan, earmarked to bolster AESC’s development of its cutting-edge 15.8GWh gigafactory. This new facility is poised to manufacture lithium-ion batteries, tailored for the next wave of UK-manufactured EVs. It’s a strategic investment that not only propels AESC forward, but also propels the nation toward a greener automotive future.

UKIB CEO, John Flint said: “A domestic battery supply chain will play an important role in the UK’s transition to net zero and also the wider economy, as highlighted in the Government’s recently published Battery Strategy. Gigafactories are an essential part of that supply chain. They also have the potential to secure and create thousands of jobs, but serious investment is needed to scale up production. This loan signals the Bank’s appetite to play a meaningful role in the financing of the domestic battery supply chain and that we are ready and willing to deploy capital where it is needed for this crucial Net Zero infrastructure.”

The new gigafactory’s footprint rivals 23 football pitches and boasts a staggering 14,000 km of mains cables. Once operational, it’s set to spark over 1,000 jobs.

The UKIB emphasised that the project aligns with the Government’s Battery Strategy mission to combat climate change while driving local and regional economic prosperity. Domestic battery production is deemed pivotal for the future of UK car manufacturing and the journey toward Net Zero. Recent projections underscore the urgency, estimating a requirement of approximately 200GWh by 2040 to fulfil demand from car manufacturers.

AESC manufactures EV and energy storage batteries worldwide. UKIB’s financing focuses on bolstering the Sunderland facility, highlighting the UK’s pivotal role in advancing electric vehicle technology.

As the UK Battery Strategy gains momentum in answer to Nissan’s push for a third gigafactory, the EV production scene is on the brink of transformation. Despite uncertainties around projects like Britishvolt, the strategy signals the government’s dedication to fostering a globally competitive battery supply chain. With bold investments and forward-thinking actions, the UK stands poised to spearhead sustainable and ethical battery manufacturing, revolutionising its automotive sector for years to come.