Envision AESC is looking beyond Nissan for customers for its newly announced UK battery cell factory. The Chinese company is in talks to supply cells to a number of automakers in the country, including Jaguar Land Rover, Envision CEO Lei Zhang told Automotive News Europe.
Envision announced on Thursday it would build a 7.5-gigawatt-hour factory next to Nissan’s factory in Sunderland, England, to supply the Japanese automaker cells and battery packs for a new electric crossover.
Production is set to start “before 2025,” Zhang said.
The plant could expand to 35 gWh by 2030, taking investment to 1.8 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) and mirroring the investment the company is making to build a new cell plant in Douai, France to supply Renault.
The Douai plant will have an initial capacity of 9 gWh in 2024, with the aim of reaching 24 gWh by 2030, similar to the Sunderland plant. “Two plants in Europe would give us a very good foundation,” Zhang said.
Envision's plans for the Douai site could go beyond Renault. Its building permit application is for a capacity of 43 gWh by the end of the decade, a goal that Zhang said could be achieved if deals are reached with other automakers.
Envision will supply Nissan with batteries for a new electric crossover that company sources said would replace the long-running Leaf.
Nissan plans to make 100,000 units of the car annually at Sunderland. In addition to fulfilling that contract, Envision will target other automakers to help absorb its addition capacity.
Assuming a battery pack size of up to 60 kilowatt hours, Envision would be able to build packs to supply 125,000 cars with 7.5-gWh factory. That number rises to 150,000 at the plant’s highest initial capacity of 9 gWh.