- AESC Group is investing $810 million in Florence County, South Carolina to build a state-of-the-art 30GWh gigafactory.
- AESC Group’s plant development will supply next generation battery technology to power the next generation electric vehicle models produced at the BMW Group’s Spartanburg plant.
- New gigafactory will kick-start the creation of 1,170 new, high-value jobs in Florence, as South Carolina reinforces its status as one of the United States’ leading automotive exporters.
Florence, South Carolina (6 December 2022) – AESC Group, a world-leading Japanese electric vehicle battery technology company, along with Governor Henry McMaster, announced today its $810 million investment to build a new, state-of-the-art gigafactory in Florence, South Carolina. The 30GWh plant will create 1,170 skilled jobs in the region in its first phase, producing high performance batteries to power the next generation BMW Group’s EVs. By 2030, BMW Group will produce at least six fully electric models in its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
“South Carolina has been an automotive manufacturing powerhouse for over thirty years and AESC Group’s decision to establish operations in Florence County, creating jobs for thousands of South Carolinians, shows that we will continue to be one for years to come,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “We have the workforce, business friendly environment, and the willingness to adapt to industry’s innovation necessary to ensure that companies that choose to do business here will find the success they’re looking for.”
The investment reinforces South Carolina’s leading role as an automotive exporter and for AESC, the plant marks the next stage of growth and the next step in a multi-year partnership with the BMW Group. The new generation battery cells used in the next generation of BMW group EV vehicles will lead to 20% more energy density than the current generation, reduce charging time and increase range and efficiency for EVs by 30%.
These high-tech capabilities will increase the cost-competitiveness and technological expertise of EV battery production in South Carolina and in the U.S., making electric vehicles more accessible and affordable for motorists. The new plant will be powered by 100% net zero carbon energy, aligning with the company’s global commitment to sustainability.
This is in addition to an existing battery manufacture plant in Tennessee and a plant under construction in Kentucky, taking AESC plant capacity to more than 70GWh nationally as part of powering the US’ move to electric vehicles.
The company is also committed to pursuing responsible sources for its critical battery components cobalt, lithium and nickel, providing full transparency of extraction methods and increasing reliance on recycled materials, which will contribute to a reduction in CO2 emissions from cell production in the new plant.
AESC Group CEO Shoichi Matsumoto said: “Our partnership with Florence County, South Carolina is part of our next phase battery strategy to power next generation EVs in the U.S. This gigafactory is another milestone on our journey to building an electrification network in the U.S and strengthens our commitment to grow the electrification supply chain while providing high value jobs for the community for years to come. We are making good progress on our ambition to create high-performance, longer-range batteries for a diverse range of automotive manufacturers worldwide to support the EV transition and we’re excited to bring Florence County on this journey with us.”
AESC U.S. Managing Director Jeff Deaton said: “The new plant will produce technology-leading battery cells for BMW Group’s Plant Spartanburg and create 1,170 new high-value jobs in the region when at full capacity. South Carolina already has an outstanding automotive footprint, and we are delighted to offer new jobs in the high growth electrification segment, to attract and retain the State’s highly skilled workforce. The addition of this new facility will put Florence at the forefront of the United States’ EV transformation and will help attract future investment in the region.”
Located in an 870 acre Technology and Commerce Park, with convenient proximity to the interstate and Inland Port Dillon, the Florence plant will be approximately 1.5 million square feet. Selected for its strong automotive manufacturing base, skilled workforce and excellent infrastructure, South Carolina is home to 500 automotive companies and is the No.1 exporter of passenger vehicles and No.1 producer of tires in the U.S. The planned job growth builds on the state’s automotive pedigree, with the sector already employing over 72,000 South Carolinians.
The new strategic partnership with South Carolina awarded Florence County with a $135 million Closing Fund grant via the Coordinating Council for Economic Development and the Joint Bond Review Committee, in addition to $70 million in state general economic development bonds to support with off-site infrastructure and a training center.
South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III said: “Today’s announcement by [AESC Group] in Florence County reinforces the state’s commitment to driving the future of the automotive industry. South Carolina is charged and ready to support [AESC Group’s] accelerated growth within our borders.”
Florence City Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin said: “We celebrate [AESC Group’s] decision to locate their newest battery facility in Florence. The successful attraction of an automotive giant like AESC Group is a testament to the pro-business environment found here in Florence. We know the company’s presence will improve the quality of life for our citizens and neighbors in the decades to come.”
Duke Energy South Carolina President Mike Callahan said: “This historic announcement is further proof that South Carolina continues to be a prime location for advanced manufacturing operations. The [AESC Group] plant won’t just manufacture electric vehicle battery components but will be transformational for the economy of this part of the state. Affordable, reliable and sustainable energy is a key component to recruiting and retaining operations like this to the Palmetto State, and Duke Energy looks forward to serving our new neighbors in Florence County for many years to come.”
Florence County Council Chair Willard Dorriety said: “What a landmark moment for our community as we welcome [AESC Group] to Florence County. This project represents one of the largest announcements in the history of Florence County. The creation of 1,170 new full-time jobs will provide transformational career opportunities for our citizens.”
NESA Executive Committee Chairman Yancey McGill said: “The North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA) is excited welcome [AESC Group] to Florence County. This is a monumental announcement that will transform our region. We appreciate the efforts of the local development team in recruiting [AESC Group] to the NESA region and the State of South Carolina.”
As the latest AESC investment to help scale up EV manufacturing capabilities in strategically important regions, the plant follows last year’s announcements to build gigafactories in Douai, France; Sunderland, U.K; Ibaraki, Japan; and Extremadura, Spain. It comes as the latest investment in the company’s network following the recent gigafactory announcement in Kentucky. This brings total AESC capacity to more than 150GWh worldwide and advances its commitment to reach 300GWh by 2026. As with Florence in South Carolina, all plants will be powered by low carbon energy and digitally enabled with smart infrastructure software to optimise the energy footprint.
As an integral part of its global strategy, AESC works collaboratively with businesses, supply chains, academic institutions and governments to accelerate the transition to zero emissions mobility in the coming decades. AESC Group has committed to achieve net zero carbon emissions in all global operations by 2022 and carbon neutrality across the whole value supply chain by 2028.
About AESC Group:
AESC Group is a global battery technology company headquartered in Zama, Japan, and committed to research, development, design, manufacturing and sales of power batteries for EVs and energy storage batteries. AESC Group has 5,600 employees and 12 manufacturing sites in Japan, U.S., U.K., France, Spain and China. In the past 12 years, AESC Group has produced power batteries for more than 800,000 electric vehicles in 59 countries, achieving a record of ‘zero critical battery malfunction.’
Its teams work to continuously improve the company’s global leadership in product development, quality and sustainable processes. In June 2021, AESC Group was again named ‘Global Tier 1 Battery Companies’ by Benchmark, a leading UK-based lithium-ion battery supply chain research organization. Visit https://www.envision-aesc.com/jp/.
About S.C. Department of Commerce:
As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. S.C. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as BMW, Boeing, Continental, Giti Tire, LPL Financial Holdings, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Samsung, Toray and Volvo Cars and also supports startups, small and existing business, innovation and rural development initiatives. S.C. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. With a strong international footprint, the Palmetto State has consistently been among the top in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign direct investment on a per capita basis – recognized by multiple economic development publications for its pro-business climate. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.
Lauren Flanagan, Senior Director International Communications, AESC Group
T: +44 7379 340101
Debbie Howard, Managing Director, Teneo
T: +44 7826 916578
Kelly Coakley, Director of Marketing & Communications, South Carolina Department of Commerce
T: (803) 737-1998