Chinese renewable energy giant, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld
Envision’s two billion euros ($ 2.4 billion) electric car battery plant in Douai, northern France, will supply French automaker Renault, becoming the second so-called “gigafactory” in France.
Automaker Nissan – Renault’s Japanese partner – also announced on Thursday that it would invest £ 1 billion ($ 1.4 billion) to build facilities, including an electric car battery plant with the Chinese company on its Sunderland manufacturing site in the United Kingdom.
Who is behind Envision?
Envision was founded in 2007 after its founder Zhang Lei returned to China from the UK. Zhang, a former energy analyst, aims to build “an infrastructure for a net zero world,” according to a report from the company.
When the company was established, solar panels were the hot sector receiving political support from Chinese policymakers.
But Envision, whose Chinese name “Yuanjing” means “perspective”, has instead set its sights on wind turbines, which were then judged to be more inefficient.
The company equips its turbines with sensors that it monitors in order to optimize their performance.
Envision claims to have installed more than 12,500 wind turbines in China and other countries, including India, France, Argentina and Kazakhstan.
Envision, which presents itself as a champion of renewable energies, has since embarked on the sector of electric car batteries.
The company’s automotive battery arm, Envision AESC, is headquartered in Japan and will be responsible for the Douai plant.
Envision bought AESC, originally a subsidiary of Nissan, from the Japanese automaker in 2018. Another US-based subsidiary, BEAM, specializes in fast-charging technology for electric vehicles.
The Chinese firm claims to have equipped nearly 600,000 electric vehicles around the world with its Envision AESC lithium-ion batteries.
In addition to power generation, Envision develops software and technologies for power management at research and development centers in the United States, Germany, Denmark and Singapore.
Its partners include Microsoft.
The group owns the Envision Virgin Racing Formula E team, which competes in the electric car world championship. Envision said it hopes to become the first company in China to achieve carbon neutrality by next year.