With increasing demand for electric vehicles (EVs), plans to build a lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant are underway on a global scale. In Japan, the news has recently been announced that construction work for a new factory, which will be one of the largest in Japan, will start. (Picture is a completed image of the new factory constructed by Envision AESC Japan)


Envision AESC to build one of the largest new factories in Japan 


Envision AESC Japan (Headquarters: Zama City, Kanagawa Prefecture), a major in-vehicle battery company known for developing, manufacturing and selling lithium-ion batteries, announced on August 4 that it will build one of the largest new factories in Japan in Ibaraki Prefecture. 


According to major media reports, the production capacity of the latest electric vehicles (EVs) will start from 70,000 units and will increase to 200,000 units in the future. The total investment is 50 billion yen. It will go into operation in 2024 and will be expanded to sales to Nissan and other automakers. The new plant is said to be the second in Japan after the plant in Zama City (for 30,000 units) for Envision AESC Japan.


The new factory will be built in Ibaraki Chuo Industrial Park (Ibaraki Town). With a location area of 360,000 square meters, the production capacity for 70,000 units is expected to be one of the largest in Japan, and construction will begin in October this year. Ibaraki Prefecture will contribute a subsidy of 2 billion yen. In the future, they will invest an additional 50 billion yen to triple its production capacity. With the construction work, it plans to hire 400 people and increase the number to 1,000 as the scale expands.

Volvo and Northbolt’s joint venture to establish EV battery factory


Sweden's Volvo Cars Group and battery maker Northvolt announced in late June that they would establish an evenly-sponsored joint venture to develop and produce EV batteries. A research and development center will be established in Sweden and will start operation in 2022.


In addition, it plans to establish a new EV battery production plant in Europe and start production in 2026. Batteries produced by the joint venture will be installed in the next-generation EVs of Volvo and Polestar, an EV brand under its umbrella.


The R & D center also seems to be considering procuring 15GWh of battery cells per year produced by Volvo at the Skellefteå battery production plant in Northvolt. The production plant is expected to be located near Volvo's EV production plant, and the electricity used at the new plant will be covered by 100% renewable energy.


Approximately 3,000 people are employed, and the annual production capacity is up to 50GWh. Volvo's rush to set up a plant is said to be to achieve its goal of converting half of the cars it sells to EVs by the mid-2020s and the entire lineup to EVs by 30.


Koreans to build EV battery factory in Indonesia


There are also movements in the Asian region. Hyundai Motor Co., Ltd. and LG Chem Co., Ltd. of South Korea announced on July 29 that they will build a battery plant for EVs in Indonesia. The investment amount of 1.1 billion dollars will be shared equally. Batteries will be mass-produced and supplied to Hyundai and Kia's finished vehicle plants.


A new factory will be established on the site (area of 330,000 square meters) in an industrial park in the Karawan district, about 65 kilometers southeast of Jakarta. Mass production will begin in 2024. It has an annual production capacity of 10 GWh and can supply batteries for 150,000 EVs. Hyundai and Kia plan to launch a total of 23 new EV models over the next five years.


British automobile group feels crisis on global trends-advising government to build EV factory


At the end of June this year, the British Automobile Manufacturers and Sellers Association (SMMT) announced a new plan for the domestic automobile industry, and after showing the British government a roadmap to 2030,  is "the construction of an EV battery factory is urgently needed. "


SMMT insists that it should secure a production capacity of 60 kWh (GWh) by constructing a large battery factory for EVs by 2030 in the new plan. In addition, they emphasized the need to deploy 2.3 million public charging points nationwide. SMMT warned that if this plan were not implemented, it would cause widespread economic damage not only to the automobile industry but also to steel, chemicals and finance etc.


SMMT pointed out that the UK government's efforts to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2030 have been inadequate, and they added the difference between whether the domestic auto industry can remain internationally competitive in the next two years. 


For the global automobile industry, whether or not EV batteries can be secured stably is a matter of life and death. It can be said that SMMT's recommendations to the British government apply directly to the Japanese government.


Jiro Arihara

Global Commodity Watcher