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'Vote of confidence'

Nissan invests £1 billion in UK electric car hub

The project promises to be transformational

Nissan has unveiled plans for its EV36Zero, a £1 billion flagship electric vehicle hub, creating a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem that will create or safeguard 6,200 jobs.

The transformational project has been launched with an initial £1bn investment by Nissan and its partners Envision AESC, a global player in battery technology, and Sunderland City Council.

Comprised of three interconnected initiatives, Nissan EV36Zero brings together electric vehicles, renewable energy and battery production, setting a blueprint for the future of the automotive industry.

The project will create 1,650 jobs at Nissan and Envision, with further jobs across the supply network.

Nissan President and chief executive, Makoto Uchida said: “This project comes as part of Nissan’s pioneering efforts to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the entire lifecycle of our products.

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“Our comprehensive approach includes not only the development and production of EVs, but also the use of on-board batteries as energy storage and their reuse for secondary purposes.

“Our announcement today comes out of lengthy discussions held within our teams, and will greatly accelerate our efforts in Europe to achieve carbon neutrality. The experience and know-how gained through the project announced today will be shared globally, enhancing Nissan’s global competitiveness.

“Nissan will continue to leverage its strengths in electrification to become a company that continues to provide value to its customers and society.”

Boris Johnson: a major vote of confidence in the UK

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Nissan’s announcement to build its new-generation all-electric vehicle in Sunderland, alongside a new gigafactory from Envision-AESC, is a major vote of confidence in the UK and our highly-skilled workers in the North East.

“Building on over 30 years of history in the area, this is a pivotal moment in our electric vehicle revolution and securing its future for decades to come.

“Commitments like these exemplify our ability to create hundreds of green jobs and boost British industry, whilst also allowing people to travel in an affordable and sustainable way so we can eliminate our contributions to climate change.”

The CBI and Labour welcomed the investment, but said it should be a trigger for more gigafactories to meet Britain’s carbon commitments.

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, said: “Nissan’s investment is a strong vote of confidence in a greener future for the UK economy.

Tony Danker

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“It must be the spark for six more gigafactories needed by 2040 to support a thriving electric vehicle market and prompt investment in widespread charging infrastructure.”

Unveiling Nissan EV36Zero at the Sunderland Plant today, Nissan’s chief operating officer, Ashwani Gupta, said: “This is a landmark day for Nissan, our partners, the UK and the automotive industry as a whole.

“Nissan EV36Zero will transform the idea of what is possible for our industry and set a roadmap for the future for all.

“We reached a new frontier with the Nissan LEAF, the world’s first mass-market all-electric vehicle. Now, with our partners, Nissan will pioneer the next phase of the automotive industry as we accelerate towards full electrification and carbon neutrality.”

Building on Nissan’s historic 35 years of manufacturing excellence in Sunderland, the projects announced today represent 6,200 jobs at Nissan and its UK suppliers, including more than 900 new Nissan jobs and 750 new Envision AESC jobs at its new smart, low-carbon battery plant. Longer-term, the transformational project modernises and expands Nissan’s EV production capability in the UK.

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Envision AESC, the battery arm of global green tech company Envision Group, will deploy integrated AIoT smart technology to monitor and optimize energy consumption, manufacturing and maintenance at its new gigafactory, enabling it to rapidly increase production and provide batteries to power up to 100,000 Nissan electric vehicles a year.

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This fantastic investment by Nissan and Envision-AESC represents a solemn commitment to the people of Sunderland, bringing further high-skilled jobs and turbocharging our plans to level up the North East.

“This is a huge step forward in our ambition to put the UK at the front of the global electric vehicle race, and further proof, if any was needed, that the UK remains one of the most competitive locations in the world for automotive manufacturing.

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“I am extremely proud that Nissan has not only reaffirmed its belief in Britain, but is doubling down on its long-standing commitment to our country.

“The cars made in this plant, using batteries made just down the road at the UK’s first at scale gigafactory, will have a huge role to play as we transition away from petrol and diesel cars and kick-start a domestic electric vehicle manufacturing base.”

A new-generation electric crossover

As part of the £1 billion announcement, Nissan will invest up to £423 million to produce a new-generation all-electric vehicle in the UK. Building on Nissan’s expertise in crossovers and the worldwide success of the Nissan LEAF, it promises next-generation vehicle styling, efficiency and battery technology, making the switch to electric driving even more accessible.

Designed for global markets, UK production will be exported to the European markets traditionally served by Nissan’s Sunderland plant. The new crossover will be built on the Alliance CMF-EV platform, with a forecasted production capacity of up to 100,000 units to be installed.

Production in Sunderland will create 909 new jobs at the plant, and more than 4,500 in the UK supply chain, while safeguarding a further 75 R&D jobs. The transformational project takes the total capital investment by Nissan into the plant past £5bn, and also includes:

  • R&D at Nissan’s European Technical Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire
  • Support for UK suppliers to transition to electric vehicles
  • Plant competitiveness and environmental improvements
  • Skills development in the Nissan workforce for future technologies

Other production locations have not yet been confirmed. More details about the new vehicle, including pricing and technology, will be released closer to the car’s sales launch.

With next-generation EV batteries

Envision AESC already owns and operates Europe’s first battery plant in Sunderland, established in 2012 for the localisation of Nissan LEAF battery production.

The factory’s UK team has nine years’ expertise from supplying batteries to the Nissan LEAF and eNV200, having produced enough cells, modules and packs to power over 180,000 electric vehicles in 44 countries, meeting global benchmark levels of quality, performance, safety, reliability and cost.

Supporting this new model allocation, Envision AESC will invest £450 million to build the UK’s first gigafactory on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), adjacent to the Nissan plant, powered by renewable energy and pioneering next-generation battery technology.

The formal planning process is about to begin for the new gigafactory, which represents an initial 9GWh plant, with potential future-phase investment of £1.8bn by Envision AESC, generating up to 25GWh and creating 4,500 new high-value green jobs in the region by 2030, with potential on site for up to 35GWh.

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The new plant will increase the cost-competitiveness of EV batteries produced in the UK, including through a new Gen5 battery cell with 30% more energy density which improves range and efficiency.

This commitment will power Nissan’s new vehicles, supporting the continued localisation of vehicle parts and components with advanced technology. This will make batteries cheaper and EVs more accessible to a growing number of customers in the future.

The new gigafactory will create 750 jobs and safeguard the jobs of 300 current employees.

Lei Zhang, founder and chief executive of Envision Group, said: “Envision Group’s mission is to be the net zero technology partner of choice for global enterprises, governments, and cities.

“We are therefore delighted to be a part of EV36Zero with Nissan and Sunderland City Council. As part of this, Envision AESC will invest £450m in a new, cutting-edge, low-carbon gigafactory in Sunderland creating 700 new jobs.

“This commitment builds on our long-term partnership with Nissan to achieve our global ambition to make high performance, longer range batteries for EVs affordable and accessible for millions more motorists.

“Growth in demand could bring future investment of up to £1.8bn, additional capacity of 25GWh and 4,500 jobs by 2030. This will put the North East at the heart of a new EV hub in the UK, collaborating on R&D around the whole battery lifecycle, from storage, to second life use, V2G smart charging and closed loop recycling.” 

Nissan in the UK

Nissan started production in Sunderland in July 1986. Since then the plant has grown into the biggest plant in the history of the UK automotive industry, supporting 46,000 UK jobs.

Also based in the UK are Nissan’s European Design Centre in Paddington, London (NDE) and R&D Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire (NTCE), designing and engineering Nissan vehicles for customers across the region and beyond.

Current production in Sunderland includes the Nissan Qashqai, Juke and LEAF, most of which (70%) are exported to mainland Europe, with 20% sold in the UK and a further 10% exported to markets than span the globe, from South America to Australia, and from the Nordics to South Africa.

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