Nissan plans new electric car battery plant

Posted on 20 Jul 2009 by The Manufacturer

Nissan announces plans to build new factory to manufacture advanced batteries for electric vehicles in the UK, and a second plant in Portugal

Nissan Motor Company has announced together with the governments of the UK and Portugal its plans to build two plants for the production of its advanced lithium-ion batteries in Europe. It marks Renault-Nissan Alliance’s the first big step towards producing batteries for its Zero Emission Mobility Program in Europe.

Once details are finalised with the Government, the UK site will be located in Sunderland where Nissan’s UK main manufacturing facility is based. The UK site will be the Nissan European headquarters for battery production and the centrepiece of the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area in the north-east of England.

Both governments have offered to extend financial assistance and other support to ensure that Nissan locates the proposed plants within their respective countries. A new plant will be a boost to the regional economy of Sunderland, by being central to the recovery of the car industry and associated industries, while boosting jobs and skills and leading the way in the manufacture and sale of zero emission passenger cars in Europe.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “Nissan’s investment in a new battery plant and its hope to start producing electric vehicles here in Sunderland is great news for the local economy, creating up to 350 direct jobs and creating and safeguarding hundreds more in the associated supply chain.

“This investment is also hugely significant as we embark on Building Britain’s Future, our plan for recovery and beyond powered by low carbon, high technology industries, products and services.
“Sunderland could now be a strong contender to produce electric vehicles for Nissan in Europe, and we will continue to work with Nissan to ensure this happens.”

As part of the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area, government intends to establish a new training centre, specialising in low carbon automotive technologies, a technology park and an open access test track for low carbon vehicles.

“The North East has distinguished itself as the first specialised region for ultra-low carbon vehicles,” said Business Secretary Peter Mandelson. “This is good news not just for the North East, but for the whole of the UK, helping to attract foreign investment and securing UK’s place as a global leader in high-tech manufacturing and automotive industries.”

“The collaboration between local businesses, universities and colleges will create a hub of expertise to boost innovation and accelerate business growth in this important area of ‘green’ industry.”

Nissan Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Europe, Trevor Mann said: “In March Nissan and regional development agency One North East signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing both partners to explore fully the North East’s potential to spearhead the UK’s drive towards zero emission mobility.

“Since then, a great deal of work has been going on at both the local and national level to promote and facilitate the introduction of electric vehicles within the region. Today’s announcement potentially marks another important milestone in establishing low carbon transport as a viable and attractive alternative across the North East and beyond, and reinforces Nissan’s commitment to lead the world in the mass marketing of zero emission vehicles.”