Wates gigafactory: How Sunderland is ‘driving’ EV


Wates Group has broken ground on a new gigafactory in Sunderland. 

female operator in gigafactory lab
by Rory ButlerDecember 13, 2022

Envision AESC, a Japanese electric vehicle (EV) battery technology company, selected Wates to deliver its second facility on the IAMP Business Park in the port city, ensuring more than 1,000 new jobs. 

The scheme forms part of a £1 billion partnership with Nissan and Sunderland City Council to create EV36Zero, an EV hub supporting next generation production. 

The new factory will deliver a six-fold increase in UK EV battery production with 30% more energy density to improve range and efficiency. 

The latest integrated Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) smart technology will monitor and optimise energy consumption, manufacturing and maintenance. 


  • Equivalent to 23 football pitches 
  • 360 metres in length 
  • 14,000 km of mains cables 


  • 12 GWh capacity 
  • Powering 100,000 EVs annually 
  • 100% net zero carbon energy 

On the job 

  • SES Engineering Services 
  • Turner and Townsend 

It is hoped the new gigafactory will draw investment to the area, pushing the site to 35 GWh capacity in the future, creating 4,500 high-value green jobs in the longer term. 

AESC CEO, Shoichi Matsumoto tightened a bolt on the building’s ‘first pillar’ – a traditional Japanese custom on construction projects.   

“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,” said Sir James Wates, chairman of Wates Group. 

The new plant will be operational in 2025. 

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