Nissan to build three new electric car models at Sunderland plant | Nissan #Nissan #build #electric #car #models #Sunderland #plant #Nissan

Nissan will build three new electric car models at its plant in Sunderland as part of a £1.1bn investment by the Japanese manufacturer.

The factory will produce three separate crossover models, yet to be named, and the decision will mean that the next-door battery supplier, AESC, will go ahead with previously announced plans to build a third “gigafactory” nearby.

The carmaker said the total investment in the Sunderland area, including the battery factories, will reach £3bn. Nissan did not reveal the size of the government subsidy for its investment, although it is understood to be significant in return for assurances that battery production will remain in the UK.

Nissan’s new cars will replace the plant’s three current models: the Qashqai and smaller Juke crossover SUVs, plus the Leaf, a pioneering electric car that had been seen as reaching the end of its life.

Friday morning’s announcement comes after leaked plans this week suggested Nissan had decided to push ahead with the replacement of its Qashqai and the Juke models at the site in north-east England.

The announcement confirm Sunderland’s position as Britain’s largest electric car factory, and will give its 6,000 workers a central role in the future of the UK automotive industry. Rishi Sunak said the investment was a “massive vote of confidence in the UK’s automotive industry”. The prime minister is due to attend the factory on Friday alongside Nissan’s chief executive, Makoto Uchida.

The UK’s car industry struggled with uncertainty after the Brexit vote in 2016 and global disruption to semiconductor computer chip supplies from the coronavirus pandemic. However, it has fared better in recent months with investment announcements from India’s Tata, which will build a £4bn battery factory to supply JLR – the maker of Jaguar and Land Rover, and Germany’s BMW, which is spending £600m to upgrade its factory to build electric Mini cars.

The three new models will roughly correspond to the three existing models, albeit with more futuristic designs and no internal combustion engine versions. Nissan’s Qashqai crossover was the UK’s bestselling car of 2022, and represents one in five of all cars built in the UK. Crossovers combine sport utility vehicle (SUV) styling with more standard car body structure.

AESC makes batteries with a capacity of 1.8 gigawatt hours (GWh) a year at its plant next door to the carmaker. The Chinese-owned company is already building a second site capable of 9GWh, and Nissan confirmed that its plans would require a third gigafactory. AESC’s planning for the third phase is already advanced, and it has previously said it could reach 38GWh of annual capacity – which would equate to roughly 600,000 cars, the Sunderland plant’s maximum possible output.

Nissan’s Uchida said: “Exciting, electric vehicles are at the heart of our plans to achieve carbon neutrality. With electric versions of our core European models on the way, we are accelerating towards a new era for Nissan, for industry and for our customers.

Uchida said the investments put “our Sunderland plant, Britain’s biggest ever car factory, at the heart of our future vision”, which includes only selling electric cars in Europe by 2030.

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Nissan said its £1.1bn investment would include spending on the factory, the wider supply chain, training for workers and research and development of electric technologies. It will also include wind and solar generation to power the factories with 100% renewable energy, an important consideration in producing zero-carbon batteries and electric cars.

Sunak said: “Nissan’s investment is a massive vote of confidence in the UK’s automotive industry, which already contributes a massive £71bn a year to our economy.”

“This venture will no doubt secure Sunderland’s future as the UK’s Silicon Valley for electric vehicle innovation and manufacturing.”

The UK government has granted the north-east of England investment zone status, which gives tax breaks for businesses plus a small amount of grant funding.

#Nissan #build #electric #car #models #Sunderland #plant #Nissan

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