The battery firm owned by Envision AESC Group Ltd. said the factory is expected to be one of the largest EV battery plants in Japan with an annual production capacity of 6 gigawatt hours, roughly enough to power 150,000 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles.


With demand for EV battery projected to rise amid global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the company plans to spend over 100 billion yen in total and expand the capacity of the Ibaraki plant, which is expected to start mass production in 2024, to 18 gigawatt hours.


The factory in the town of Ibaraki will initially hire some 400 workers, with the number expected to reach about 1,000 later. The construction work for the plant is scheduled to begin in October, according to the company based in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo.


Envision AESC Group said it has decided to build the battery plant in the eastern Japan region, which hosts a number of production sites for automotive equipment makers, as it can receive a 2 billion yen subsidy from the Ibaraki prefectural government.


Ibaraki Gov. Kazuhiko Oigawa said at a joint press conference with Envision AESC Group, “We will work closely with (the company) to support its business activity.”


Envision AESC Group currently manufactures batteries for the Leaf EVs at a Nissan plant in Britain. It will build a new battery factory adjacent to the Nissan plant as the automaker seeks to shift away from fuel-burning engines.


AESC, or Automotive Energy Supply Corp., was established as a joint venture between Nissan and NEC Corp. in 2007, but Nissan announced its sale to Envision Group, a green technology company based in Shanghai, in 2018. The Japanese automaker still owns 20 percent of Envision AESC Group.