Saietta takes on former ZF Automotive (ZF) manufacturing facility in Sunderland to produce electric powertrains in the UK

Saietta Group, who are specialists in high-tech advanced emobility powertrains, have taken on a manufacturing facility in Sunderland at the former base of ZF Automotive UK Limited (ZF). This will help the company accelerate its growth plans to produce electric powertrains in the UK.

The Oxfordshire-based group’s vision is to play a leading role in cleaning up the air in large cities around the globe by quickly deploying its innovative electric drive technology from scooters to buses.

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Saietta, who recently announced a retrofit electric solution for polluting buses and coaches, believes a key enabler in achieving this vision is investing significantly into state-of-the-art production facilities, equipment, processes and people. This new agreement will enable Saietta to meet its stated objective of establishing a UK pilot production facility significantly ahead of its 2024 target.

The new Sunderland plant is a specialised automotive electric motor manufacturing facility of 86,000 square feet, with a history of manufacturing over 20 million electric motors for a range of automotive applications since 1999.

The number of motors produced will build in a series of phases over time, with the first stage growing to a capacity of 100,000 units per annum.

Saietta intends to use its new facility to scale up the production of its proprietary AFT (axial-flux technology) motors for multiple applications. Saietta will also locate the manufacture of its proven e-Axle commercial vehicle drivetrain technology in Sunderland which was previously manufactured in China, creating the potential for more green-technology manufacturing jobs in the UK.

Wicher Kist, Saietta chief executive, said: “This is a landmark achievement for Saietta providing us with a UK production facility more than two years ahead of schedule, further speeding up our capability to supply our innovation to clients in high volume globally.

“In addition to the lease on the large premises in Sunderland, we are also acquiring automotive production lines and are ready to employ a fantastic, proven team with decades of experience in manufacturing electric motors between them

“The UK is a hot-spot for electric powertrain innovation and we are committed to building up the engineering and manufacturing of our technology in the UK and exporting to mainland Europe and beyond.”

Saietta will offer roles to former ZF personnel with a range of critical skills including fabrication, engineering, IT, quality control, finance and process management. The inherent capability of this team in the efficient and timely fabrication and certification of electric motors for automotive applications will be extremely valuable and scalable – as is the Sunderland factory’s established supply and logistics chain.

Ian Constance, Advanced Propulsion Centre chief executive, said: “I’m delighted to see Saietta taking over this facility with plans to manufacture some of the most advanced electric motor technology, creating highly skilled jobs and retaining talent in the sector.

“This is yet more proof that the UK is a leader in electric vehicle innovation and is now ready to move to large-scale production and commercialisation of UK-developed technology.”

Peter McIntyre, Sunderland City Council executive director of city development, said: “We have established Sunderland as a globally recognised hub for engineering and advanced manufacturing, and to attract Saietta is further vindication of that.

“We’re delighted to have been able to support Saietta with its move into Sunderland and look forward to seeing them go from strength to strength.”

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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