Driving forward the North East’s electrification sector

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By Michelle Duggan, Inward Investment Manager
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This year our major focus will be on accelerating the growth of the North East’s electrification sector. By targeting the most successful international markets, particularly the US and Japan, we can supercharge local green growth.

North East England is a beacon in the UK’s electric vehicle and battery sectors, with the likes of Nissan, Turntide Technologies and Envision AESC’s Sunderland battery plant all taking starring roles. These investments are part of a strong track record for international investment, but there is more to be done. Electrification is a key growth sector for North East England and offers us huge opportunities in terms of business growth, investment and job creation. Our team is proactively targeting overseas markets, such as the United States and Japan because this where we will have the greatest success.

We look across the Atlantic, not only for opportunities but also for inspiration. US electrification is already seeing huge growth and sparking sustained success. Further afield, we look to Japan, which continues to enjoy the highest car electrification rate in the world. Furthermore, the US continues to be the top source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) electrification projects for the UK.

To put that into perspective, in 2021/2022 there were 379 US investment projects into the UK creating over 25,000 jobs. The North East has had huge success in recent years, out-performing other regions in securing foreign investment and this experience shows us which territories will continue to serve us well in growing our EV and battery clusters. Over 41% of foreign direct investments supported by Invest North East England were from the US, with the next most successful market being Japan at 14%, making them our two biggest overseas markets for electrification.

Ahead of key upcoming global industry events, now is the time to take advantage of growing international opportunities. Our drive for securing investment is firmly founded on the North East’s engineering expertise, skilled workforce and innovation capability.

The premier location for investment in electrification

We actively promote the North East as the premier location for investment in electrification technologies – and to this end, Invest North East England is working ceaselessly to exploit key international markets.

We have a packed schedule of activity over the coming year – and, as we prepare to attend a string of major overseas events including the Europe Battery Show in Stuttgart, the Automotive Engineering Expo in Japan and the US Battery Show in Detroit, our future is already taking shape at home. In June, Invest North East England is sponsoring the North East Battery Alliance conference, which last year attracted 200 delegates. We are working with the Department for Business and Trade (DTI) and partners to attract a delegation of new overseas investors to be part of this key event.

Our team is excited to see Envision AESC’s Sunderland gigafactory taking shape alongside the Nissan plant. Its location at the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) will boost its position as a high-quality strategic employment site for advanced manufacturing.

Together, IAMP and the advanced manufacturing and automotive cluster will power 100,000 electric vehicles and, in doing so, create growth across the region.

Over the next few months, it will be these successes that we will be sharing at global events. Importantly though, our companies are our best ambassadors and as the regional cluster thrives, so will our reputation overseas. The North East Automotive Alliance, in partnership with the Dept. for Business and Trade and the international law firm, Womble Bond Dickinson, will be leading an outward mission of ambitious North East companies to the South East region of the US to tap into the market opportunities there.

This region has a remarkable legacy of engineering capability and skills with a highly collaborative approach, our reputation now so often precedes us, and we’re excited to be writing the next chapter for an exciting new era of electrification.

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About The Author

Invest North East England is the first point of contact for companies looking to invest in our region. Our highly experienced team opens the door for investors to North East England’s network of specialist organisations and individuals with the information, support and advice essential to any investment decision. We co-ordinate investment enquiries on behalf of our region’s local authorities to ensure businesses are able to make the best decisions based on a wide array of information.

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