Advanced Propulsion Centre proud of role in gigafactory announcement

01/07/2021

Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) CEO, Ian Constance, has said he is proud of the role the organisation played in today’s (1 July 2021) announcement regarding investment in a major battery facility to support Nissan’s electric vehicle production expansion in Sunderland.

In a press conference this morning, Nissan announced a £1bn electric vehicle hub with long-standing partner Envision AESC.

The APC has been supporting investment in electrification through its role facilitating the UK Government’s Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF).

Reacting to today’s announcement from Nissan and UK Government Ian Constance, CEO of the Advanced Propulsion Centre, said: “This announcement cements Nissan’s long-standing commitment to the UK automotive sector. From the Bluebird over 35-years ago, through to the ground-breaking fully-electric Leaf, it secures continued collaboration well into the future.

“It sends a strong signal that the UK is globally competitive and offers the right conditions for manufacturers wanting to accelerate the electric vehicle transition to net-zero – an important message if we are to meet the forecast 90GWh of UK battery demand by 2030. 

It’s great news for Sunderland and those involved in Nissan manufacturing but it also recognises that our entire UK ecosystem can sustain the significant pipeline of automotive demand for low-carbon technology.

“The APC has provided funding to a number of projects involving Nissan, developing EV technology that is on our roads today and I am proud to work for an organisation that champions the UK’s globally recognised expertise and capability in clean automotive innovation.”

The Automotive Transformation Fund builds on the significant research and development base supported through the APC since 2013.

Announced by the Government in July 2020, ATF forms the last part of the bridge into industrialisation at scale, supporting investment in the key technology areas of batteries, fuel cells, motors, drives and power electronics. There have already been 53 feasibility studies funded looking into the upscaling in these key areas. Today’s announcement marks the first ATF support for capital investment to accelerate the decarbonisation of transport and meet UK climate goals.

The APC has been involved in a number of key milestones that have got us to this point:

2013 – Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) is formed and the all-electric Nissan Leaf goes into production in Sunderland

Early 2016 – APC awards £9.5m (of a total £19m project) to Nissan and partners to develop the production line for a 40kWh vehicle battery for longer driving range and lower production costs.

February 2018 – Nissan releases a new model of LEAF, featuring the 40kWh battery developed utilising APC support.

September 2018 – Facilitated by APC, Williams Advanced Engineering and Unipart Manufacturing Group announce a joint-venture, Hyperbat, which aims to be the UK’s largest independent battery manufacturer.

Early 2019 – Hyperbat launches its first facility in Coventry, aiming to produce 10,000 battery packs per year for several premium automotive brands.

July 2019 – UK SME Hyperdrive opens the UK’s largest independent battery pack facility in Sunderland, manufacturing 30,000 batteries per year for customers, including JCB’s all-electric mini excavator. This follows a successful APC-funded battery project with Nissan, and subsequent growth of the business.

July 2020 – UK Government announces the Advanced Propulsion Centre will guide up to £1bn funding through its Automotive Transformation Fund designed to support industrialisation of the EV supply chain.

July 2021 – Nissan announces £1bn electric vehicle hub in Sunderland in partnership with Envision AESC.

Since its foundation in 2013, APC has funded 150 low-carbon projects involving 375 partners, working with companies of all sizes, and has helped to create or safeguard over 50,000 jobs in the UK. The technologies developed in these projects are projected to save over 260 million tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of removing the lifetime emissions from 10.2 million cars.