Wates construction regional operations director Neil Matthias (left) with Envision AESC chief executive Shoichi Matsumoto (centre) and Sir James Wates (right)

Wates starts work on its biggest ever contract


Wates construction regional operations director Neil Matthias (left) with Envision AESC chief executive Shoichi Matsumoto (centre) and Sir James Wates (right)

The £450m project is the largest single contract that Wates has ever taken on.

Turner & Townsend is project manager and cost manager.

The new battery plant – AESC’s second in Sunderland – will have capacity of 12 GWh and will employ more than a 1,000 people when operational, scheduled for 2025. The building will be 360-metres long and cover an area equivalent 23 football pitches.

The project forms part of a wider £1bn partnership between Nissan and Sunderland City Council to create EV36Zero, an electric vehicle hub.

A traditional Japanese first pillar ceremony marked the first phase of work on Friday 9th December, with AESC chief executive Shoichi Matsumoto tightening the bolt on the building’s ‘first pillar’, a Japanese tradition for construction projects.

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Wates Group chairman Sir James Wates said: “Envision AESC is the largest single project by value in our 125-year history. We are integrating years of expertise from across our business and supply partners to deliver this immensely complex scheme.

“This gigafactory represents the future of green, automotive manufacturing – not only in the northeast, but nationally – and like all our projects, we’re committed to building it sustainably and for the long-term benefit of the region. It was an honour to celebrate this first phase with AESC and we look forward to our next milestone being completed.”

Shoichi Matsumoto said: “The first pillar event marks the latest phase of Envision AESC’s investment in the UK and is a sign of our ongoing commitment to Sunderland. Our ambitious growth plans are built on a focus on quality, which is why we have over 800,000 electric vehicle batteries on the road globally with zero critical incidents.

“I want to pay tribute to the fantastic team in Sunderland who over the past decade have helped ensure each and every battery is built without compromise and helped make AESC a leading battery supplier.”

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