PRODUCTION at Sunderland’s Nissan plant could be boosted after plans to increase the number of charging stations nationwide were announced.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin visited Wearside yesterday to reveal a £37million funding scheme to help with the costs of installing charging point for electric cars in public and residential areas.
The pot of cash can be accessed by local authorities looking to introduce rapid charging points, which can give vehicles enough power for a journey of around 100 miles in under half an hour.
Residents installing chargepoints where they live will also be able to apply for money, as will train operators installing new charge points at railway stations.
The first of Nissan’s all-electric Leaf cars are due to roll off the production line in spring and senior vice-president for manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain, John Martin, told the Echo he hopes the scheme will support production at the plant long into the future.
“This is really going to help us because one of the primary issues for electric cars is range anxiety.
“There are two ways to overcome that. We will continue developing our cars to improve range but also you need an infrastructure to charge cars,” he said.
“This will go a long way towards addressing that.
“This is an emerging technology, it needs government money and this can only help the plant.”
Mr McLoughlin said that while he would love to see petrol prices reduced, it is important for the Government to invest in plans for the future.
“This is about talking about tomorrow’s technology. Tomorrow’s technology is today,” he said.
“It’s not inconsequential because we are seeing here locally-based companies investing huge sums of money creating new jobs, and electric is one of the answers for the future. You wouldn’t see the likes of Nissan investing to the degree they are investing in electric if they didn’t think so.
“I know they’ve got a very proud record of what they have done so far here and I travelled in a Leaf this morning and apart from it being a lot quieter, I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t a petrol vehicle.”