Nissan set to create thousands of jobs from new battery plant

Posted on 30 Jun 2021 by The Manufacturer

Nissan is set to create 2,000 new jobs after securing government funds to help build a state-of-the-art gigafactory in the North East of England, according to reports.

Numerous reports are suggesting that the UK’s biggest car manufacturer is expected to confirm the announcement later this week. The BBC and the Financial Times has also reported that the Government was contributing towards the cost of setting up the battery plant on Wearside, where Nissan’s electric vehicles are already made.

It is now believed the firm has secured that funding and is hoping to commence building work soon. It is hoped the factory will open towards the end of 2024 when it will start producing 6 gigawatt hours of battery capacity per year.

Nissan Sunderland - According Nissan, the investment is a further endorsement of the quality of output from the Sunderland plant.

This is also the year where the level of UK-made components in UK-made cars will have to start increasing in line with the terms of the UK’s trade agreement with the European Union. This is where most of Nissan’s Sunderland-assembled cars are sold.

Industry sources believe the size of the new facility might closely resemble a new facility in Douai, France recently announced by Renault – which is a major shareholder in Nissan and a partner in a global manufacturing alliance.

In an increasingly more environmentally aware consumer market, the need for electric cars is expanding rapidly. That said, earlier this month, influential green group Transport and Environment (T&E) said the UK is in danger of being left behind in the race to build electric cars.

The campaign group, based in Brussels, said that as recently as 2018, the UK produced roughly half of all electric cars supplied in Europe. However, it claimed a lack of investment by UK manufacturers meant that by the end of the decade that figure could fall to just 4%.

Sunderland Solar Farm Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf Solar Farm in Sunderland

The new facility will make batteries for as many as 200,000 electric cars every year. If the government is to meet its target of no new petrol or diesel cars by 2030, then it is widely agreed by experts that several gigafactories will have to be built. The Faraday Institution predicts the UK will need eight factories to meet demand by 2040 in a report from March last year.

Nissan says investing in gigafactories could create as many as 250,000 jobs across the country but has not given any comment as yet on the latest reports.

A Nissan spokesman has previously stated: “Having established EV and battery production in the UK in 2013 for the Nissan Leaf, our Sunderland plant has played a pioneering role in developing the electric vehicle market.

“As previously announced, we will continue to electrify our line-up as part of our global journey towards carbon neutrality, however we have no further plans to announce at this time.”

See more stories from the Sustainability section of The Manufacturer’s website.

Images courtesy of Nissan