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Envision AESC to Build New Production Bases in China and US

published: 2022-05-06 9:30

Like its competitors, battery manufacturer Envision AESC (Envision) is aggressively expanding production capacity to meet the rising demand related to electric vehicles and energy storage systems. Envision is a Chinese-Japanese joint venture that is currently headquartered in Japan. The company currently has three “net-zero” production bases in operation or development in China. It is also building facilities in other countries such as Japan, the US, the UK, and France. In its recent announcements, the company said that the first phase of its production base in Ordos (China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region) has come online, and it will be setting up its second American plant for mobility batteries.

First Phase of Envision’s Net-Zero Industrial Park in Ordos Has Entered Operation

The first phase of Envision’s net-zero production base in Ordos formally entered operation on April 8. The first phase has an annual production capacity of 10GWh for prismatic LFP batteries. With one of its production lines capable of ramping up to 3.5GWh, the base is currently the largest standalone production complex for mobility batteries in North China.

The high-density and high-quality prismatic batteries from the Ordos base will be equipped in heavy-duty electric trucks and energy storage systems. Envision said that once the entire base is completed and ramped up, it will be able to meet the demand of more than 30,000 heavy-duty electric trucks per year.

Envision is also collaborating with FAW Car Company to develop a battery swap solution for intelligent electric trucks. A demonstration project comprising two battery swap stations for electric trucks has already been set up in the Ordos base and is seen as a major highlight of this net-zero industrial park.

In the future, Envision will build out the Ordos base to include an R&D center, an engineering facility, and a product testing laboratory. These add-ons will not only improve the on-site capability for technological innovations but also contribute to the formation of a local industry cluster. Specifically, the company hopes to have companies related to materials, components, and whole vehicles set up shop near the base.

Market intelligence firm TrendForce’s latest investigation finds that Envision is building two more net-zero production bases in China in addition to the one in Ordos. These two are respectively located in Wuxi (Jiangsu Province) and Shiyan (Hubei Province).

The Wuxi base will have an annual production capacity of 20GWh, and its first phase with 5GWh has been in operation since 2021. The construction of the second phase commenced this February and will add the remaining 15GWh. The entire Wuxi base will be up and running by 2023.

As for the Shiyan base, the agreement for its development was inked this March. The total production capacity of the base is currently planned at 40GWh per year. In the first phase, 20GWh will be set up and ready for operation before the end of this year. Envision will use the Shiyan base to provide its customers with the latest generation of its solutions for electric mobility and energy storage.

Envision Will Build a New 30GWh Battery Plant in the US

Besides growing its presence in China, Envision is also seeking to capture more market shares in many other countries that have huge potential demand for electric vehicles. On April 13, Envision announced that it will build a new gigafactory in the US. The plant will be placed in the state of Kentucky. Its annual production capacity is currently planned at 30GWh but could reach up 40GWh. It will be Envision’s second plant in the US, the first being the 3GWh plant in the state of Tennessee.

Envision said that the gigafactory in Kentucky will manufacture the latest generation of its mobility batteries that offer 30% higher energy density and ultra-fast charging. They will effectively extend the driving range of electric vehicles. Based on the company’s development schedule, the gigafactory will begin production in 2025; and once it is running at maximum capacity, it will be able to meet the demand of around 300,000 electric vehicles per year.

It is also worth pointing out that Envision and Mercedes-Benz signed a deal this March. Under their agreement, Envision will supply battery modules to Mercedes-Benz’s future battery assembly plant in the state of Alabama. These battery modules will be equipped in Mercedes-Benz’s electric SUVs EQS and EQE.

TrendForce notes that the trend of vehicle electrification is accelerating in the US and thereby releasing a lot of demand for mobility batteries. This development has resulted in a flurry of factory-building activities undertaken by battery manufacturers across North America. Examples besides Envision include CATL and Gotion Hi-Tech from China; Samsung SDI, SK On, and LG Energy Solution from South Korea; and Panasonic from Japan.

As the world’s leading supplier for mobility batteries, CATL is currently selecting a site in North America for a gigafactory. The total investment that CATL plans to commit in this project comes to around US$5 billion. Once built, the proposed gigafactory is expected to focus on delivering batteries used in Tesla vehicles.

Gotion is also interested in setting up a plant in North America. In December last year, a listed car company from the US placed an order with Gotion for 200GWh of LPF batteries. The name of the car company has yet to be disclosed. According to the related reporting by other news outlets, the two parties are now discussing the possibility of setting up a joint venture because the ordered LFP batteries will have to be manufactured in the US.

LG Energy Solution, which is the world’s second largest supplier for mobility batteries, announced this January that it and GM will jointly invest US$2.1 billion to build its third battery plant in the US. Later this February, GM said that it will reveal the site of its fourth joint venture with LG Energy Solution during the first half of this year.

Japanese battery manufacturer Panasonic is reportedly planning for a new gigfactory in the US to meet Tesla’s growing demand. The new gigafactory could be used to manufacture battery cells in the 4680 size format. The total investment in this project is currently estimated to reach several billions of dollars.

(This article is a translation of a Chinese article written by Wendy from TrendForce. The information contained in the article is sourced from various news outlets.)

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