International law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has advised Envision AESC, a world-leading Japanese electric vehicle battery technology company, on the construction of a new electric vehicle battery plant in Sunderland.

Construction of the gigafactory on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), which spans land in South Tyneside and Sunderland, officially got underway at a special ceremony to mark the first phase of work last week.

Envision first launched plans to build the plant – its second in the North East – back in the summer of 2021, with its investment forming part of a wider £1 billion project with Nissan and Sunderland City Council.

The plant will have a capacity of 12 GWh and employ over 1,000 people once operational, producing enough batteries to power more than 100,000 electric vehicles. The batteries set to roll out of the plant will be AESC’s latest generation of battery, which will have 30% more energy density, improving range and efficiency.

The WBD team advising Envision was led by partner Vicky McCombe from the firm's Construction and Engineering practice.

Commenting on the project, Vicky said:

"We are delighted to have advised Envision AESC on this hugely significant development for the region. Our expertise advising clients in the manufacturing sector coupled with our strong commercial credentials and understanding of our client, meant we were able to secure the best possible outcome and a smooth completion for Envision AESC."

Derek Benfield, Envision AESC UK VP Manufacturing and Supply Chain Operations, said:

"The beginning of construction on our new gigafactory in Sunderland marks the latest phase of Envision AESC's investment in the UK and is a sign of our ongoing commitment to Sunderland. Womble Bond Dickinson has played an integral role in making this project happen and we are extremely grateful to Vicky and the team for their expertise and commitment. Their ability to advise us on the many complex issues involved in an approachable and straightforward manner throughout was incredibly helpful."