Construction on another electric vehicle gigafactory has officially started, with the company behind the plant promising to deliver over 1,000 "high-tech jobs" and the capacity to produce enough batteries to power more than 100,000 electric vehicles.
The Envision AESC gigafactory in Sunderland is tipped to deliver a six-fold increase in electric vehicle battery production in the UK.
A traditional Japanese first pillar ceremony marked the first phase of construction and celebrated ten years of electric vehicle battery production on Wearside.
Envision AESC CEO Shoichi Matsumoto said: "The first pillar event marks the latest phase of Envision AESC's investment in the UK and is a sign of our ongoing commitment to Sunderland.
"Our ambitious growth plans are built on a focus on quality, which is why we have over 800,000 electric vehicle batteries on the road globally with zero critical incidents.
"I want to pay tribute to the fantastic team in Sunderland who over the past decade have helped ensure each and every battery is built without compromise and helped make AESC a leading battery supplier."
Envision AESC's second Sunderland plant will have a capacity of 12 GWh and is being built to produce AESC's latest generation of battery, which the company says will have 30% more energy density improving range and efficiency.
Envision AESC's factory forms part of a wider £1bn partnership with Nissan and Sunderland City Council to create EV36Zero, an electric vehicle hub supporting next-generation EV production and accelerating the transition to net zero carbon mobility.
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: "IAMP provides us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our economy, creating sustainable new jobs that will support people from in and around the city for many years to come.
"As work begins on Envision AESC's landmark new Gigafactory, part of the wider £1bn EV Hub with Nissan-EV36Zero, we are accelerating our journey towards a greener, more sustainable future in the North East both in advanced manufacturing and in transport. This is a milestone moment for the city."
The footprint of the new building will be the equivalent of 23 football pitches and will use 14000 km of mains cables, enough to stretch to the AESC HQ in Japan.
Over 19,000 tonnes of steel will be used in the building's structure - twice the weight of the Eiffel Tower. When complete the 360m long building will be longer than the nearby Northern Spire bridge across the river Wear.
Nissan Europe Vice President, of Engineering, Andy Marsh said: "We are delighted to be part of today's groundbreaking ceremony for Envision AESC's new gigafactory.
"The first Sunderland battery plant helped launch the 100% electric Nissan LEAF and the second factory will be a fundamental part of our EV36Zero project, which brings together electric vehicle production, battery manufacturing, and renewables as we drive towards carbon neutrality."
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