FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Nearly 1,200 new jobs are coming to Florence County as part of a Japanese manufacturer’s $810 million investment in electric-vehicle-battery technology, state officials said.

Envision AESC will build the 1.5-million-square-foot state-of-the-art battery cell gigafactory to support the company’s multiyear partnership with the BMW Group, according to a news release from South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s office. It will be built in an 870-acre Technology and Commerce Park in Florence that is in close proximity to the interstate and Inland Port Dillon.

McMaster and other leaders were in Florence Tuesday to announce the project, which officials said will create 1,170 new jobs.

“I don’t think there’s any other place in the country that you can find more precisely than what’s here,” McMaster said. 

Envision AESC said it has approximately 5,600 employees and 12 manufacturing sites in Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and China.

“South Carolina has been an automotive manufacturing powerhouse for over 30 years, and Envision AESC’s decision to establish operations in Florence County and to create jobs for thousands of South Carolinians shows that we will continue to be one for years to come,” McMaster said earlier in a news release. “We have the workforce, business-friendly environment, and the willingness to adapt to industry’s innovation necessary to ensure that companies that choose to do business here will find the success they’re looking for.”

The plant will supply battery cells for electric vehicles produced at BMW’s Spartanburg plant. The new technology will reduce charging time, and increase the range and efficiency of electric vehicles by 30%, the governor’s office said. The 30GWh manufacturing plant will also be powered by 100% net zero carbon energy.

“Our partnership with Florence County, South Carolina is part of our next phase battery strategy to power next-generation EVs in the U.S., AESC Group CEO Shoichi Matsumoto said in the news release. “This facility is another milestone on our journey to building an electrification network in the U.S. and strengthens our commitment to grow the electrification supply chain while providing high-value jobs for the community for years to come.”

“We are making good progress on our ambition to create high-performance, longer-range batteries for a diverse range of automotive manufacturers worldwide to support the EV transition and we’re excited to bring Florence County on this journey with us.”

AESC already has one battery manufacturing plant in Tennessee and another plant is under construction in Kentucky. According to the release, the three plants combined will provide up to 70GWh capacity nationally and help power the U.S. shift to electric vehicles.

“South Carolina already has an outstanding automotive footprint, and we are delighted to offer new jobs in the high growth electrification segment, to attract and retain the state’s highly skilled workforce,” AESC U.S. Managing Director Jeff Deaton said. “The addition of this new facility will put Florence at the forefront of the United States’ EV transformation and will help attract future investment in the region.”

Florence County received a $135 million closing grant from the Coordinating Council for Economic Development to help with costs related to the project. In addition, the state authorized the issuance of up to $70 million in general economic development bonds to offset the costs of off-site infrastructure and a training center to support the project.

“What a landmark moment for our community as we welcome Envision AESC to Florence County,” Florence County Council Chairman Willard Dorriety said in the news release. “This project represents one of the largest announcements in the history of Florence County. The creation of 1,170 new full-time jobs will provide transformational career opportunities for our citizens.”

Florence Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin also applauded the project.

“We celebrate Envision AESC’s decision to locate their newest battery facility in Florence,” Ervin said. “The successful attraction of an automotive giant like Envision AESC is a testament to the pro-business environment found here in Florence. We know the company’s presence will improve the quality of life for our citizens and neighbors in the decades to come.”

“We have made history today Florence,” Ervin added. “Look at the diversion and inclusion that you see on the stage today. This is the future of our city, our county, and our states.” 

Anyone interested in joining the Envision team can visit the company website here.