The £26.5 million investment will help 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 Sunderland facility is one of three Nissan battery production sites globally and will provide battery modules for the all-electric Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 electric van, which is manufactured at Nissan’s facility in Barcelona, Spain.
Already the global leaders in electric vehicles with more than 200,000 Nissan LEAF models on the road worldwide covering a total of two billion electric miles. In 2015 Nissan sold 43,651 LEAFs worldwide with 15,630 of that number being sold in Europe.
Paul Willcox, Chairman, Nissan Europe, said: “The announcement reflects Nissan’s intention to remain EV leaders for many years to come, with our European operations at the heart of our future innovations.”
Since EV production began in Sunderland in 2013 bolstered by a £420m investment, the battery plant and Nissan LEAF production have supported more than 2 000 jobs both at Nissan and within the supply chain.
The Nissan Leaf was the first electric car to be mass-produced in the UK - about 60,000 batteries are produced at the plant each year.
“Nissan has achieved second-to-none quality levels since launching battery manufacturing in Sunderland, and securing this critical future production is a testament to our success. This news coincides with the launch of the 250km range Nissan LEAF. Now in its third generation, the LEAF continues to go from strength to strength as we realize our electric motoring vision,” said Willcox.
The announcement comes at the beginning of a landmark year in which Nissan will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its Sunderland factory (now the largest plant in the history of the UK car industry) and the 10th anniversary of its St Petersburg Plant in Russia. The St Petersburg facility celebrated production of its 200,000th vehicle in 2015, making it the fastest growing plant in Russia.