January 21 2016 @ 9:36 by Alison Cowie
Nissan has announced its commitment to produce a future generation of electric vehicle (EV) batteries at its flagship manufacturing base in Sunderland, UK.
Representing a £26.5 million investment in the UK, this commitment will safeguard 300 highly-skilled jobs in manufacturing, maintenance and engineering at Nissan’s advanced lithium-ion battery plant in Sunderland, the largest of its type in Europe.
The announcement comes at the beginning of a landmark year in which Nissan will celebrate the 30th anniversary year of its Sunderland factory – now the largest plant in the history of the UK car industry.
Already the global leaders in electric vehicles, and with a new 155-mile (250km) range Nissan LEAF on sale across Europe this month, this long-term commitment signals Nissan’s bold vision for the future of zero-emission motoring.
Paul Willcox, Chairman, Nissan Europe, said: “With 200,000 customers around the world already, the Nissan LEAF has transformed the performance and perception of EVs and made Nissan the undisputed leader in EV technology.
“Today’s announcement reflects Nissan’s intention to remain EV leaders for many years to come, with our UK operations at the heart of our future innovations.”
Since EV production began in Sunderland in 2013, a £420 million investment, the Battery Plant and Nissan LEAF production have supported more than 2000 jobs at Nissan and in its UK supply chain.
Paving the way for future generation batteries will be a groundbreaking new £19.4 million project that will team Nissan with new academic and technology partners in the UK, supported with a £9.7 million grant from the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).
The other consortium members are Hyperdrive Innovation, Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick, Newcastle University and Zero Carbon Futures, who will work together on key areas of battery development covering pilot projects, product diversification and process improvement.
Willcox added: “I congratulate all my colleagues in the UK on securing this future technology, which is just reward for the second-to-none quality levels they have achieved since launching battery manufacturing in Sunderland, which remains the biggest UK car plant of all time.”
Nissan’s UK battery plant is one of three Nissan battery production sites globally, also providing battery modules for Nissan’s all-electric van, the e-NV200, which is manufactured in the company’s plant in Barcelona, Spain.