Nissan is to safeguard 300 jobs on Wearside with plans to build a new generation of electric vehicle batteries at its Sunderland plant.
The car giant is ploughing £26.5million into its UK operations, guaranteeing the future of highly-skilled jobs in manufacturing, maintenance and engineering at its Wearside advanced lithium-ion battery plant, the largest of its type in Europe.
Today’s announcement reflects Nissan’s intention to remain EV leaders for many years to come, with our UK operations at the heart of our future innovations.Paul Willcox
Part of today’s announcement will see the firm launch a £19.4million partnership in which it will team up with new academic and technology partners, supported with a £9.7million grant from the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre.
Consortium members Washington-based Hyperdrive Innovation, Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick, Newcastle University and North East renewable energy specialists Zero Carbon Futures will work together on key areas of battery development.
Nissan Europe chairman Paul Willcox said the announcement was proof of the firm’s long-term commitment to electric vehicle (EV) production on Wearside.
“With 200,000 customers around the world already, the Nissan Leaf has transformed the performance and perception of EVs and made Nissan the undisputed leader in EV technology,” he said.
“Today’s announcement reflects Nissan’s intention to remain EV leaders for many years to come, with our UK operations at the heart of our future innovations.
“I congratulate all my colleagues in the UK on securing this future technology, which is just reward for the second-to-none quality levels they have achieved since launching battery manufacturing in Sunderland, which remains the biggest UK car plant of all time.”
The announcement comes at the beginning of a landmark year in which Nissan will celebrate the 30th anniversary year of its Sunderland factory – now the largest plant in the history of the UK car industry.
Nissna has ploughed more than £400million into producing electric vehicles on Wearside.
Production of the Leaf began in 2013 and the combination of the car and the Sunderland battery plant – which builds power packs for both the Leaf and the all-electric e-NV200 van, manufactured in the company’s plant in Barcelona – has supported more than 2,000 jobs at Nissan and in its UK supply chain.