European Investment Bank invests in Nissan’s LEAF car

The European Investment Bank has invested Eu220m in the production of Nissan’s first electric car and the first production of European electric vehicle batteries.

The funding will support the integration of new machinery and tooling for production of the 100% electric-powered Nissan LEAF.

The Nissan LEAF will go into production at the company’s Sunderland plant in 2013 with an initial production capacity of around 50,000 vehicles a year.

Simon Brooks, European Investment Bank (EIC) vice president for the UK said: “New Nissan investment to produce the Nissan LEAF model demonstrates the commercial emergence of electric vehicles from research intensive concept cars.”

He added: “The EIC is committed to supporting competitive electric vehicle and battery technology that can contribute to improving air quality and tackling climate change.”

Nissan will also use the money to build a new plant for the production of lithium-ion electric vehicle battery cells in Sunderland. The battery and LEAF projects represent a £420m investment by Nissan, which is hoped to maintain around 2,250 jobs at Nissan and across its UK supply chain. Production of electric batteries is planned to commence in early 2012.

Trevor Mann, Nissan Europe senior vice president for Manufacturing, said: “We are extremely grateful for this support from the European Investment Bank, who share our vision and commitment for the roll-out of zero-emission transport,” he added.

Reduction of carbon emissions linked to transport is a key objective of EIC in the effort to tackle climate change, and the support from the EIC is expected to boost this effort.

Deliveries of Nissan LEAF have already begun in the UK, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, France, Spain, Switzerland and Portugal.

Shelley DeBere