Electric vehicles (EVs) are increasingly adopted around the world and governments are active in aiding the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles. Let’s explore the heart of an EV ⎯ the battery, its technology and its afterlife.
Envision AESC, a world-leading Japanese electric vehicle battery technology company, along with Gov. Andy Beshear, recently announced its $2billion investment to build a new, state-of-the-art gigafactory in the Kentucky Transpark in Bowling Green, Warren County.
The 30GWh plant will create 2,000 skilled jobs in the region, producing battery cells and modules to power the next generation EVs produced for multiple global automotive manufacturers.
Gov. Beshear said: “We are thrilled that Envision AESC – the world’s leading EV battery technology company – has picked Kentucky. Envision AESC is making the second-largest economic development investment Kentucky has ever seen, investing $2billion to build a new, state-of-the-art EV battery gigafactory in Bowling Green. Even better: This project will create 2,000 great jobs of the future for residents in the Warren County region. And with this investment Envision AESC will generate a 30GWh site, which increases Kentucky’s production to 116GWh, making the commonwealth the nation’s top producer of electric vehicle batteries.”
The investment cements Kentucky’s leading role in the automotive industry of the future. For Envision AESC, the facility marks the next stage of growth. The company will produce new generation battery cells with 30% more energy density than the current generation, reduced charging time and increased range and efficiency for EVs, powering up to 300,000 vehicles annually by 2027.
These high-tech capabilities will increase the cost-competitiveness and technological expertise of EV battery production in Kentucky and in the U.S., making electric vehicles more accessible and affordable for motorists. The gigafactory will be powered by 100% renewable energy, supplied by onsite generation and purchased locally from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), ensuring the plant helps drive progress toward decarbonizing the state’s industrial sector.
CEO of Envision AESC Group, Shoichi Matsumoto, said: “We are pleased to partner with Kentucky and Bowling Green as part of our next phase battery strategy to power next-generation EVs in the U.S. This major investment builds on our commitment to the U.S. market, supports the growth of the electrification supply chain and secures high-value jobs for future generations in the region. This commitment takes us one step further toward our ambition to make high-performance, longer-range batteries for a diverse range of automotive manufacturers worldwide to support the EV transition.”
Envision AESC U.S. Managing Director Jeff Deaton said: “The new plant will produce batteries for a growing number of electric vehicle manufacturers and create 2,000 new high-value jobs in the region when at full capacity. The Bowling Green area has an outstanding automotive workforce today, as well as the future pipeline of talent needed, and we are excited to support this with newjobs in the high growth electrification segment. The addition of this new facility will make Kentucky the new gigafactory capital of the U.S., well positioned to meet the forecasted growth of EVs and attract future investment.”
TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash said: “Thank you, Envision AESC, for bringing the world’s leading battery technology company to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Your company’s intention to lead the decarbonization revolution through electric vehicle battery solutions seamlessly aligns with our goal to not only support but accelerate electrification for greener, cleaner communities. We welcome you to an area that is quickly becoming the destination of choice for electric vehicle manufacturing and a community we are privileged to serve.”
The plant will be approximately 3 million square feet and marks one of the largest economic projects in the commonwealth’s history. Selected for its strong automotive manufacturing base, skilled workforce and excellent infrastructure, Kentucky is already the nation’s No. 1 producer of cars, light trucks and SUVs per capita and the centre of Auto Alley in the U.S. The new strategic partnership with Kentucky provides up to $116.8million from state incentive programs and up to $5million grant-in-aid for skills training.
Bowling Green Judge/Executive Mike Buchanon said: “I am so grateful for the work that was started years ago through Chamber initiatives like South Central Kentucky Launch to ensure that our future workforce is prepared to meet the community’s growing talent demands. It’s this type of forward thinking that attracts world-class companies like Envision AESC.”
Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott said: “The scale of this project is like nothing our community has ever seen before. This announcement boasts the largest investment amount, job creation and facility size in our history. It’s phenomenal for the future of our region.”
As the latest investment by Envision AESC to help scale up EV manufacturing capabilities in strategically important regions, the plant follows last year’s announcements to build gigafactories in Douai, France, and Sunderland, U.K. This brings Envision AESC’s total capacity to approximately 150GWh worldwide and advances its commitment to reach 300GWh by 2026. As with Bowling Green in Kentucky, all plants will be powered by low carbon energy and digitally enabled with smart infrastructure software to optimise the energy footprint.
As an integral part of its global strategy, Envision AESC works collaboratively with businesses, supply chains, academic institutions and governments to accelerate the transition to zero emissions mobility in the coming decades. Envision AESC has committed to achieve net zero carbon emissions in all global operations by 2022 and carbon neutrality across the whole value supply chain by 2028.
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