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Wates confirmed winner of £450m car battery gigafactory

Wates and Turner & Townsend have been appointed by client Envision AESC to lead the design and project manage construction of its £450m car battery gigafactory in Sunderland.

The factory will be built at the 50-acre International Advanced Manufacturing Park and will form part of a £1bn partnership with Nissan UK and Sunderland City Council to create an electric vehicle (EV) hub to deliver the next generation of electric vehicle production.

Wates will develop an adaptable design that provides the infrastructure to support battery production by 2024. The contractor will work alongside Turner & Townsend who will act as the project manager and cost manager.

Planning permission was granted in October for the gigafactory, which represents an initial 9GWh plant with potential future-phase investment by Envision AESC of £1.8bn.

This will generate up to 25GWh and create 4,500 new high-value green jobs in the region by 2030, with potential on site for up to 35GWh. This commitment will power Nissan’s new vehicles in the first phase and support the continued localisation of vehicle parts and components with advanced technology.

As part of the design process, Wates is already engaging with local supply chain partners, seeking their input on areas ranging from clean utilities to fire protection services.

Chris Caygill, Managing Director of the Envision AESC battery plant, said: “Envision AESC is pleased to be working with both Wates Group and Turner & Townsend as key partners in this next stage of our UK gigafactory development.

“Each brings unique strengths to the project that will help deliver a world-class battery manufacturing facility essential to helping the UK automotive industry transition to a fully electrified future.

“We pride ourselves particularly on the safety record of our batteries, which continually achieve zero critical incidents in new product and process designs. Together with smart, digitally integrated clean energy generation, storage and use in our battery plants, we are supporting the global transition towards net zero carbon energy targets.”

Paul Chandler, Executive Managing Director of Wates Construction Group, said: “At Wates, we are constantly looking for a better way, using innovation, adaptability, and collaboration to help us take on the challenge of making our sector more sustainable.

“This project, to design the Envision battery gigafactory, will be a vanguard for that, representing a huge opportunity to accelerate Envision and the UK Government’s net zero ambitions.

“Not only that, but the project is also an essential piece of the puzzle in the Government’s levelling up agenda, and we’re incredibly proud to be laying the foundations for sustainable growth in the region.

“There is enormous potential to bring about real change, creating a legacy for Sunderland and the Northeast, through the creation of new green jobs and inward investment.”