Nissan Motor this week was set to formally announce plans to build an electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Japan in conjunction with Envision AESC to meet growing global demand, according to a Bloomberg report.

The two companies were said to be planning a joint investment of JPY50bn (US$459m) in a new factory in Japan’s Ibaraki Prefecture with an initial annual production capacity of six gigawatt-hours (GWh) of batteries. Construction was scheduled for completion in 2023, according to the report.

Total investment would be hiked to JPY100bn after five years to expand production annual capacity to 18GWh, enough to power 163,000 electric vehicles.

This followed an announcement by Envision AESC last month of a GBP423m (US$588m) investment in a new EV battery plant in the UK, as part of Nissan’s plans for a GBP1bn EV manufacturing hub in Sunderland.

The factory would have an initial annual capacity of 9GWh, rising to 25GWh after a second-stage investment and potentially up to 35 GWh.

Nissan sold a majority stake in its Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) battery subsidiary to China’s Envision Group in 2018 although it still retains a 20% stake in the company which has also kept its Japanese headquarters.

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AESC was originally established in 2007 as a joint venture by Nissan and Japan’s NEC Corporation to supply batteries for the first generation Leaf.

Reports, citing an unnamed source, suggested Nissan wants to strengthen ties with its former EV battery subsidiary and might be looking to increase its stake to ensure future supplies of the critical EV component.

Envision Group last June announced its own plans to spend US$2.4bn on a new EV battery plant in northern France with capacity to produce 43GWh of batteries per year by 2030, to supply Renault and other automakers in the region.