Nissan chief speaks about important of electric cars as Sunderland plant begins Leaf production

Colin Lawther of Nissan.
Colin Lawther of Nissan.
Share this article

Sunderland’s Nissan plant this week began production of the company’s new Leaf electric car.

Bosses have hailed the work as “exciting” and say those who have ordered the new vehicle should start to receive theirs by February.

Today, Colin Lawther, senior vice president at Nissan International SA Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, tells Echo readers of the importance of the company putting its faith in renewable energy.

This week the new Nissan Leaf starts production at our Sunderland plant, right on schedule.

This is more than just a milestone. It is a strong statement of Nissan’s ability to continue leading the global EV revolution.

Today there are plenty of companies selling grand visions for the future of mobility based on EV technology.

But it is easy to sell a vision.

It is much more difficult to back it up by successfully building and delivering electric vehicles to the mass market.

This is where Nissan leaves our competitors in the dust.

Producing cars – electric or otherwise – on a mass market scale is no simple thing. Why?

Assembling thousands of parts into one rolling machine that can carry people and goods is an art unto itself.

It takes experience but also ingenuity, which has been a part of Nissan’s DNA from the very beginning.

Our Sunderland plant speaks to this DNA and is an example of our global scale at work.

It is the largest automotive assembly plant in the UK and has been part of the country’s fabric since 1986.

It now employs 7,000 workers and it not only produces a high volume, but also does so in an environmentally responsible manner.

In 2016 we installed 19,000 solar panels for the plant.

They join ten wind turbines on the site generating 11.35MW of clean energy, enough to build the equivalent of more than 30,000 vehicles every year.

There is no question that the future of mobility will be electric, and renewable power and electric vehicles are becoming more the norm than the fringe.

Nissan is excited to be part of this story, allowing the latest technology to be more accessible to our customers.

In Europe, renewable power grew to nearly 17% of all energy consumption in 2015, nearly doubling what it was a decade earlier and those numbers are ticking upward exponentially. Some countries are already outpacing their 2020 goals for renewable energy.

Electric vehicles run in perfect parallel with these renewable gains and we’re happy to see both governments and the general consumer rallying around this technology.

The Nissan Leaf is proof of this trend. It is the best-selling EV in the world with more than 300,000 sold and more 3.6 billion kilometers driven without a single major battery incident.

The new Nissan Leaf will take our EV leadership even further.

We were proud to unveil the exclusive European edition called the Nissan Leaf 2.ZERO recently at our Futures event in Oslo.

The new Leaf is the icon of our Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision to move people to a better world.

It offers an improved range of 235 miles on a single charge, allowing drivers to enjoy longer journeys, interconnected by the extended CHAdeMO Quick Charging network.

It is also packed with advanced technologies including the ProPILOT advanced driver assistance system to offer autonomous drive in single lanes on the highway.

It also has the revolutionary e-Pedal technology which transforms the way people drive by letting them start, accelerate, decelerate and stop – simply by increasing or decreasing the pressure applied to the accelerator, as well as ProPILOT Park for fully autonomous parking.

At Nissan, we believe that having a vision for the future of mobility is important but it takes more than that.

It is just as important to have the scale and experience to back it up by producing high quality vehicles that directly benefit the greatest number of consumers.

I am confident of what the new Nissan Leaf will deliver to our customers and even prouder that it will be produced in Sunderland.

It will showcase Sunderland’s commitment to the environment, to its employees and to building the most advanced car in the world with the widest reach and the greatest availability.

Just like the first Nissan Leaf, Sunderland and its 7,000 workers will continue to be a big part of the new Leaf’s success.