Envision AESC, a Japanese electric vehicle battery company and BMW supplier, announced Wednesday, December 6 it would build a new battery factory in Florence County, South Carolina. According to the company, the “gigafactory” will cover 1.5 million square feet, employ 1,170, and cost about $810 million.
AESC said the new plant would support battery manufacturing for new electric vehicles built at BMW Group’s Spartanburg plant, also in South Carolina. The new factory is slated to produce a 30GWh of output a year, and AESC says it will use renewable energy sources, battery recycling, and energy management software to operate at net zero carbon emissions.
AESC CEO Shoichi Matsumoto, in a statement, said the new plant is “a milestone” in the company’s mission to produce batteries for a new generation of electric vehicles.
“We are making good progress on our ambition to create high-performance, longer-range batteries for a diverse range of automotive manufacturers worldwide,” he said.
According to the company, the batteries produced at the new factory will be more efficient than current batteries: The “advanced battery format” models will feature 20% higher energy density than existing batteries, which AESC says will reduce charging time and increase vehicle range.
In remarks, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said AESC’s announcement fits with his state’s history in the automotive business. “South Carolina has been an automotive manufacturing powerhouse for over 30 years, and Envision AESC’s decision to establish operations in Florence County and to create jobs for thousands of South Carolinians shows that we will continue to be one for years to come,” he said.