Wates’ initial task is to develop an adaptable design that provides the infrastructure to support battery production by 2024. Turner & Townsend will act as the project manager and cost manager.
As part of the design process, Wates is already talking to local suppliers for input on areas ranging from clean utilities to fire protection.
The £450m gigafactory will form part of a £1bn partnership with Nissan UK and Sunderland City Council to create a centre for electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing.
Planning permission was granted in October for the gigafactory, which represents an initial 9GWh plant with potential future-phase investment by Envision AESC of £1.8b. It is designed generate up to 25GWh, with potential on site for up to 35GWh.
Daniel Granger, head of industrial and logistics EMEA for Turner & Townsend, said: “Battery technology and advanced manufacturing are driving the modernisation of the automotive industry and our acceleration to a net zero society. The race to supply the net zero economy is well and truly under way and companies will need to scale up quickly to keep pace with the growing demand for clean mobility. All eyes will be on Envision and its Sunderland plant to deliver a world-class facility that can compete in the international battery race.”
Wates Construction managing director Paul Chandler said: “At Wates, we are constantly looking for a better way, using innovation, adaptability, and collaboration to help us take on the challenge of making our sector more sustainable. This project, to design the Envision battery gigafactory, will be a vanguard for that, representing a huge opportunity to accelerate Envision and the UK government’s net zero ambitions. Not only that, but the project is also an essential piece of the puzzle in the government’s levelling up agenda, and we’re incredibly proud to be laying the foundations for sustainable growth in the region. There is enormous potential to bring about real change, creating a legacy for Sunderland and the northeast, through the creation of new green jobs and inward investment.”