Nissan to build eco-car in UK

Sunderland will be home to the world's first 'affordable and zero emission' car, Nissan said this morning (March 18).

The Nissan LEAF is the first in a range of new Nissan electric vehicles, which is due to go into mass production in 2013.

Nissan also said that construction of its advanced lithium-ion battery plant, announced last year, will begin this April.

The Sunderland factory will have a production capacity of 60,000 units a year and will start manufacturing batteries in 2012 for both Nissan and its Alliance partner Renault.

The production of Nissan LEAF and the batteries represents a total investment of more than £420M.

And, is expected to maintain about 2,250 jobs at Nissan and across the UK supply chain.

Andy Palmer, senior vice president at Nissan, said: “The world is at the dawn of a new era in automotive transport.

“Nissan LEAF is a five-seater hatchback that offers the same space, practicality and performance of a similar car in its class – minus the tailpipe emissions.

“Thanks to the UK’s firm commitment to a low carbon future in terms of infrastructure, customer incentives and educational programmes, Nissan LEAF will be built at Sunderland, making the UK the third country in the world to produce this revolutionary car.”

Production of Nissan LEAF will begin in Oppama, Japan later this year followed by Smyrna, Tennessee, USA in 2012.

Sunderland will come on-line in early 2013 with an initial annual production capacity of about 50,000 units.

Luke Walsh

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