Nissan is the keystone occupier at IAMP, with future versions of the Qashqai, JUKE and LEAF models confirmed to be built in Sunderland. Credit: Nissan

Massive EV boost for Sunderland

Japanese motor giant Nissan has confirmed that production of the three models made at its North East plant will go electric at the site, meaning a £3bn investment.

The announcement means that the £1bn EV36Zero hub in Sunderland, Nissan’s blueprint for future manufacturing, will include three gigafactories.

Nissan has 7,000 UK employees and supports 30,000 supply chain jobs.

The project covers future all-electric versions of Nissan’s flagship Qashqai and JUKE crossover vehicles, but also a third vehicle planned for UK production, the next-generation iteration of the pioneering Nissan LEAF model.

The Qashqai was the UK’s best-selling car of 2022 and represents one in five of all cars built in the UK.

Both vehicle and battery manufacturing will be powered by the EV36Zero Microgrid, which will incorporate the wind and solar farms at Nissan and will have the capability to deliver 100% renewable electricity to Nissan and its neighbouring suppliers.

Speaking in Sunderland, Nissan president and chief executive Makoto Uchida said: “Exciting, electric vehicles are at the heart of our plans to achieve carbon neutrality. With electric versions of our core European models on the way, we are accelerating towards a new era for Nissan, for industry and for our customers.

“The EV36Zero project puts our Sunderland plant, Britain’s biggest ever car factory, at the heart of our future vision. It means our UK team will be designing, engineering and manufacturing the vehicles of the future, driving us towards an all-electric future for Nissan in Europe.”

All new Nissan cars in Europe from now will be fully electric, and the group expects its passenger car line-up in Europe to be 100% electric by 2030.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Nissan’s investment is a massive vote of confidence in the UK’s automotive industry, which already contributes a massive £71bn a year to our economy. This venture will no doubt secure Sunderland’s future as the UK’s Silicon Valley for electric vehicle innovation and manufacturing.

“Making the UK the best place to do business is at the heart of our economic plan. We will continue to back businesses like Nissan to expand and grow their roots in the UK every step of the way as we make the right long term decisions for a brighter future.”

The programme means facilities at the Sunderland plant will be expanded and improved, building on an ever-busy programme of estate improvement which this month alone sees a range of Nissan projects go before the city council’s planning committee.

The wider supply chain is also being catered for with plans moving ahead this year for the next phases of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park, a joint venture between Sunderland and South Tyneside councils.

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