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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: EV Battery Gigafactory

Dec 07, 2022 09:10AM ● By David Dykes

$810 Million Investment To Create 1,170 Jobs

Envision AESC, a leading Japanese electric vehicle battery technology company, said Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, that it will build a state-of-the-art battery cell gigafactory in Florence County. 

The $810 million investment will create 1,170 jobs and will support the company’s multi-year partnership with the BMW Group, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.  

“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,” Gov. Henry McMaster said.

As part of the partnership announced in October, AESC will supply technology-leading battery cells to be used in the next generation electric vehicle models produced at the BMW Group’s Plant Spartanburg. 

The advanced battery format will result in 20 percent more energy density than the current generation, reduce charging time and increase range and efficiency for electric vehicles by 30 percent, Commerce officials said.

Aligning with the company’s global commitment to sustainability, the new, 30GWh manufacturing plant will be powered by 100 percent net zero carbon energy, the officials said.

AESC leverages leading net-zero system solutions from across the business, including renewable energy generation, carbon reduction through artificial intelligence of things energy management systems and battery recycling to accelerate carbon neutrality across the entire battery value chain.

The company is also committed to pursuing responsible sources for its critical battery components – cobalt, lithium and nickel – providing full transparency of extraction methods and increasing reliance on recycled materials, which will contribute to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from cell production in the new plant, Commerce officials said.

Said AESC Group CEO Shoichi Matsumoto: “Our partnership with Florence County, South Carolina is part of our next phase battery strategy to power next generation EVs in the U.S.

"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."

Located in an 870-acre Technology and Commerce Park in Florence, with proximity to the interstate and Inland Port Dillon, the Florence plant will encompass approximately 1.5 million square feet. 

The new battery plant builds on AESC’s existing United States network that includes a battery manufacturing plant in Tennessee and a plant under construction in Kentucky. 

Collectively, when complete, the plants will provide up to 70GWh capacity nationally and power the United States’ shift to electric vehicles.

The state’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development, after review and comment by the Joint Bond Review Committee, awarded a $135 million Closing Fund grant to Florence County to assist with costs related to the project, and the state authorized the issuance of up to $70 million in state general economic development bonds to offset the costs of off-site infrastructure and a training center to support the project.

The Coordinating Council also awarded job development credits related to the project.

Commerce officials said those interested in joining AESC should go to readySC’s recruitment website to explore opportunities. Companies interested in becoming a supplier for the company should complete S.C. Commerce’s online interest form.

States to Have Additional Time To Meet REAL ID Requirements

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intent to extend the REAL ID full enforcement date by 24 months, from May 3, 2023 to May 7, 2025.

Under the new regulations, states will have additional time to ensure their residents have driver’s licenses and identification cards that meet the security standards established by the REAL ID Act.

As required by the law, following the enforcement deadline, federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), will be prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not meet these federal standards.  

Officials said the extension is necessary, in part, to address the lingering impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the ability to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card.

REAL ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic, the officials said.

Many of the agencies took various steps in response to the pandemic including automatically extending the expiration dates of driver’s licenses and identification cards and shifting operations to appointment only. 

Passed by Congress in 2005 following a 9/11 Commission recommendation, the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.

Security standards include incorporating anti-counterfeiting technology, preventing insider fraud, and using documentary evidence and record checks to ensure a person is who they claim to be.

Under the new regulations, beginning May 7, 2025, every traveler 18 years of age or older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel. 

All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four of five U.S. territories covered by the REAL ID Act and related regulations are issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards.

For more information on REAL ID, go to

USPTO China IP Road Show coming December 15

9am - 4:30pm

Greenville Technical College (Barton Campus) Student Success Center

506 Pleasantburg Dr., Greenville, SC

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s China Intellectual Property (IP) Road Show comes to Greenville, South Carolina, with a free one-day program bringing together experts from the U.S. government, academics, IP attorneys, and local business people to share insights on China and IP issues that will benefit U.S. IP rights holders. Join us to hear from these experts about how to protect and enforce your IP rights in China and the United States. To register CLICK HERE.

Stewart Spinks Receives Order Of The Palmetto

Stewart Spinks, founder and chairman of the board of The Spinx Company, received the Order of the Palmetto at the company’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. 

The award was presented by the Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, on Friday, Dec. 2 at Fluor Field in Greenville.

Established by Governor John C. West in 1971, the Order of the Palmetto is the State of South Carolina’s highest civilian honor presented in recognition of a lifetime of extraordinary achievement, service, and contributions on a national or statewide scale.

Spinks founded his business in 1972 and has since then grown to more than 80 Spinx stores. As a civic leader, Spinks has been community and customer-focused, and dedicated to giving back to those that have supported him through the years. 

“I am truly speechless at this amazing honor,” said Spinks. “This means so much to me but would not be possible without the love and support from the Spinks family and also the Spinx family.”

Spinks’ accomplishments over the years are extensive and include induction to the Convenience Store News Hall of Fame, Individual Philanthropist of the Year along with his wife, Martha, American Cancer Society's Susan Eison Award recipient, Greenville Tech Foundation's Workforce Development honoree, Greenville Tech Entrepreneur Award recipient, Furman University Riley Institute Diversity Fellow, and Boy Scout-Blue Ridge Council Outstanding Leadership Award recipient.

In addition to his recognized and public efforts to give back, Spinks serves behind the scenes for countless organizations and alongside community partners.

This Day in History: December 7

On this day in 1941, Japanese bombers launched a surprise aerial attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, precipitating the entry of the United States into World War II, recounts Britannica’s website.

The base was attacked just before 8:00 a.m. on Sunday by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft (including fighterslevel and dive bombers, and torpedo bombers) in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers, according to Wikipedia.

The online encyclopedia said that of the eight U.S. Navy battleships present, all were damaged, with four sunk. All but USS Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war.

The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. More than 180 U.S. aircraft were destroyed. 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. 

It truly is “a date which will live in infamy.”

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