Nissan has made a serious commitment to the growth of electric vehicle in the UK as it announces a billion pound investment in EV production. The maker of the iconic Leaf EV is going to expand its plant in Sunderland where it will make the successor to the Leaf. There are no details available yet about the new Nissan model.
After the expansion is completed, Nissan would have created 1,650 new jobs. The factory, currently the largest for car manufacturing in the UK, supplies cars to the whole of Europe. The upcoming electric model is responsible for about 423 million pounds and will directly create 909 new employee positions and over 4,500 across the supply chain in the UK alone.
The expansion is expected to be completed by 2024. The power required for the project will be supplied by about 10 proposed solar farms. Nissan’s production partner, Envision, will be building a plant of its own at the site to make and recycle batteries. Total capacity will eventually ramp up to 100,000 units, all of which will find their way into Nissan’s electric vehicles. The battery production will 750 new jobs.
The recycled batteries will be used to setup a renewable energy storage to help balance demand on the national power grid and forestall the release of 55,000 tonnes of carbon into the environment every year.
There won’t be a shortage of buyers for Nissan’s output from the proposed plant as the UK government is banning the sale of new internal combustion engine light duty vehicles, a first step in its roadmap for eliminating automobiles that produce carbon emission. Hybrid electric vehicles will be the next to go, in 2035.
UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said: “The great thing about this investment and the creation of this gigafactory is it is going to drive down the cost of electric vehicles (EVs), not just for people who are currently buying them but so ordinary families can buy EVs as a matter of course and that will start happening in just a few years’ time.
” While lauding the move by both Nissan and the UK government, Mike Hawes, chief executive of Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, requested for more; “it’s not enough. We need a lot more. We have a number of factories in the UK, producing up to 1.5 million vehicles. So we need to see this sort of investment multiplied. Germany and other parts of Europe, Eastern Europe in particular, are way ahead of us in terms of those committed investments.”