Envision AESC, a world-leading Japanese electric vehicle battery technology company, along with Governor Henry McMaster, has announced its $810 million investment to build a new, state-of-the-art gigafactory in Florence, South Carolina. The 30GWh plant will create 1,170 skilled jobs in the region in its first phase, producing high performance batteries to power the next generation BMW Group’s EVs. By 2030, BMW Group will produce at least six fully electric models in its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
“South Carolina has been an automotive manufacturing powerhouse for over thirty years and Envision AESC’s decision to establish operations in Florence County, creating jobs for thousands of South Carolinians, shows that we will continue to be one for years to come,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “We have the workforce, business friendly environment, and the willingness to adapt to industry’s innovation necessary to ensure that companies that choose to do business here will find the success they’re looking for.”
The investment reinforces South Carolina’s leading role as an automotive exporter and for AESC, the plant marks the next stage of growth and the next step in a multi-year partnership with the BMW Group. The new generation battery cells used in the next generation of BMW group EV vehicles will lead to 20% more energy density than the current generation, reduce charging time and increase range and efficiency for EVs by 30%.
These high-tech capabilities will increase the cost-competitiveness and technological expertise of EV battery production in South Carolina and in the U.S., making electric vehicles more accessible and affordable for motorists. The new plant will be powered by 100% net zero carbon energy, aligning with the company’s global commitment to sustainability.
This is in addition to an existing battery manufacture plant in Tennessee and a plant under construction in Kentucky, taking AESC plant capacity to more than 70GWh nationally as part of powering the US’ move to electric vehicles.
The company is also committed to pursuing responsible sources for its critical battery components cobalt, lithium and nickel, providing full transparency of extraction methods and increasing reliance on recycled materials, which will contribute to a reduction in CO2 emissions from cell production in the new plant.
AESC Group CEO Shoichi Matsumoto said: “Our partnership with Florence County, South Carolina is part of our next phase battery strategy to power next generation EVs in the U.S. This gigafactory is another milestone on our journey to building an electrification network in the U.S and strengthens our commitment to grow the electrification supply chain while providing high value jobs for the community for years to come. We are making good progress on our ambition to create high-performance, longer-range batteries for a diverse range of automotive manufacturers worldwide to support the EV transition and we’re excited to bring Florence County on this journey with us.”
AESC U.S. Managing Director Jeff Deaton said: “The new plant will produce technology-leading battery cells for BMW Group’s Plant Spartanburg and create 1,170 new high-value jobs in the region when at full capacity. South Carolina already has an outstanding automotive footprint, and we are delighted to offer new jobs in the high growth electrification segment, to attract and retain the State’s highly skilled workforce. The addition of this new facility will put Florence at the forefront of the United States’ EV transformation and will help attract future investment in the region.”
Located in an 870 acre Technology and Commerce Park, with convenient proximity to the interstate and Inland Port Dillon, the Florence plant will be approximately 1.5 million square feet. Selected for its strong automotive manufacturing base, skilled workforce and excellent infrastructure, South Carolina is home to 500 automotive companies and is the No.1 exporter of passenger vehicles and No.1 producer of tires in the U.S. The planned job growth builds on the state’s automotive pedigree, with the sector already employing over 72,000 South Carolinians.
The new strategic partnership with South Carolina awarded Florence County with a $135 million Closing Fund grant via the Coordinating Council for Economic Development and the Joint Bond Review Committee, in addition to $70 million in state general economic development bonds to support with off-site infrastructure and a training center.