AESC Breaks Ground On EV Battery Factory In South Carolina

On June 7, 2023, AESC (formerly Envision AESC) held a groundbreaking ceremony on its new battery plant in Florence County, South Carolina.

The new $810 million factory announced in December 2022 will produce BMW’s sixth-generation cylindrical battery cells with a standard diameter of 46 mm, although at this point we still don’t know which version – (height of 95 mm, 120 mm, or both). The cells will be assembled into battery packs at BMW’s plant in South Carolina, where the German manufacturer intends to produce six fully electric BMW X models (crossover/SUV type).

According to the plan, AESC’s new factory will have an annual capacity of 30 gigawatt-hours (GWh) and should start production in 2026.

The list of confirmed BMW suppliers of the new cylindrical cells around the world includes CATL and EVE Energy (each of them will build one plant in Europe and one in China).

“The AESC Florence site supports the Company’s multi-year partnership with BMW Group, announced in October 2022. Under the agreement, AESC will supply technology-leading battery cells for next generation electric vehicle models produced at BMW’s Spartanburg plant. The advanced battery format will result in 20% higher energy density than the current generation, with reduced charging time and increased range and efficiency of 30%.”

AESC intends to expand its battery manufacturing capacity in the United States to 70 GWh (and as far as we know, 300+ GWh globally):

The Japanese company, initially established as a joint venture between Nissan and NEC, was acquired by the Envision Group in 2019. It was renamed to Envision AESC shortly. As far as we know, at the time, Nissan maintained some stake in the company of around 20 percent. Most recently, the company was renamed again to AESC.

An interesting thing is that AESC previously was focused on pouch battery cells (mid- to high-nickel cathodes), while the project in South Carolina is related to the all-new, large, cylindrical cells. AESC notes that over the past 13 years (since 2010, when the Nissan Leaf was introduced), the company produced batteries for more than 800,000 EVs (most likely including BEVs, PHEVs and HEVs) “achieving a flawless record of ‘zero critical incidents.”

AESC US Managing Director Jeff Deaton said:

“This groundbreaking marks another major milestone in AESC’s commitment to investing in South Carolina and manufacturing electric vehicle batteries. AESC continues to be a global leader in developing next generation EV battery technology, and we’re proud to be further growing our capacity to build those products in U.S. facilities, accelerating the transition to clean energy transportation.”

AESC gigafactory in South Carolina:

  • location: Florence, South Carolina an 870-acre Technology and Commerce Park
    a 1.5 million square foot plant
  • investment: $810 million
  • manufacturing capacity: 30 GWh per year
  • batteries: BMW’s sixth-generation cylindrical battery cells (no info about version – 4695, 46120, or both)
  • construction start: June 2023
  • production start (target): 2026
  • jobs: 1,170
  • the plant will be powered by 100% net zero carbon energy

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