Nissan's commitment to electric vehicles is 'massive opportunity' for region

Nissan’s decision to manufacture new batters on Wearside to power the next generation of electric vehicles is a massive opportunity for the North East to take the lead on the race to a zero carbon future.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 5:17 pm

That’s the message from the man who played a pivotal role in setting the North East on the road to becoming one of the best prepared regions in the country for the arrival of electric vehicles (EVs).

Building the batteries in Sunderland means the vehicles will comply with new rules of origin introduced as part of the UK’s Brexit deal.

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Dr Colin Herron CBE

Dr Colin Herron CBE spearheaded the first study into the day-to-day use of EVs run by the region’s former development agency One NorthEast and helped to draw up the North East’s pioneering charging infrastructure in its earliest days.

Today he is managing director of Sunderland-based consultancy Zero Carbon Futures, which works with business and the public sector to help them develop ways to boost the uptake of EVs, from feasibility studies to installing the hardware.

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He is delighted to see Nissan committing to the production of EVs at its Sunderland factory: “I think the more that plant makes in the way of electric vehicles, the better it is,” he said.

“The more electric vehicles it makes, the more it gets a reputation for making electric vehicles. In 2030, all automotive companies will have to have electric vehicles in place, so the more established that plant becomes for making electric vehicles, the more secure it is.”

The industry was changing rapidly and plants not producing EVs were at risk, he said: "Vauxhall has announced they are not going to make any more petrol and vehicles at their plant in Ellesmere Port.

"Unless they put an electric vehicle in there, it is facing a slow death.”

EVs were the future of the industry and the North East was poised to take advantage, said Dr Herron: “The new world is electric and the old world is fading out, so the more electric vehicle production that goes on in that plant, the better.

“It is a massive opportunity for the region.”

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