UK plant to produce Nissan electric car

18 Mar 2010

Japanese car manufacturer Nissan has announced it is to build its Nissan LEAF electric car at its plant in the UK.

The car maker said its decision to locate its LEAF production in its Sunderland factory represents an investment of more than £420m and is expected to maintain about 2,250 Nissan jobs across the UK.

The investment is also backed by a £20.7m UK government grant and up to £220m from the European Investment Bank.

Nissan’s Sunderland factory will also produce a lithium-ion battery.

The UK will be the third country to produce the LEAF car. Production of the LEAF is set to begin in Oppama, Japan, later this year, followed by Smyrna in Tennessee in 2012.

The Sunderland plant is expected to come online in early 2013 and will have an initial annual production capacity of about 50,000 units.

The sales launch of the LEAF will begin in late 2010 in Japan, the US and selected European markets, ahead of global mass marketing from 2012.

The Nissan LEAF is a five-seater hatchback powered by an 80kW electric motor. The car will have a top speed of more than 140 km/h and charges to 80pc of capacity in under 30 minutes.

“This investment is a fantastic vote of confidence in the Sunderland plant and its excellent workforce. The automotive sector is of key importance to the UK. It supports R&D, technological innovation, skills and a supply chain that’s a mainstay of the wider manufacturing sector,” said the UK’s Business Secretary Lord Mandelson.

Photo: Nissan LEAF electric car

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