Nissan, China’s Envision will create EV production hub in UK

Nissan will add production of a new electric crossover and build a gigafactory with its battery partner Envision AESC at its UK plant.

The 1-billion-pound ($1.38 billion) investment secures the future of Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, England. Its fate had been hanging in the balance while the UK negotiated the terms of its exit from the European Union.

The battery plant will initially produce 9 gigawatt hours of battery cells, rising to 25 gWh by 2030.

China’s Envision AESC will invest 450 million pounds to build the plant, while the local council will spend 80 million pounds to provide green energy to power it and related companies at the site.

The plant will create 750 jobs and safeguard the jobs of 300 current employees, Nissan said. No date was given for the start of battery production.

Nissan, meanwhile, will invest 423 million pounds in its existing vehicle assembly plant to build a new crossover on the same Renault-Nissan alliance CMF-EV platform as the coming Nissan Ariya and Renault Megane EV crossovers.

Nissan plans to install capacity to build 100,000 units a year for the vehicle, which is expected to be closer to the Juke small-segment crossover in size rather than the Qashqai compact model. Both models are built at the Sunderland factory. The plant  employs about 6,000 people and has an annual capacity of 350,000 vehicles.

Nissan gave no more details about the EV but it could be a replacement for the Leaf battery-powered hatchback, which is also built at the plant.

“This project is the demonstration of the renaissance of the British car industry,” Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s chief operating officer, told reporters on Thursday at the plant, which exports 70 percent of its vehicles to the EU.

The investment “will greatly accelerate our efforts in Europe to achieve carbon neutrality,” Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said in a statement. “The experience and know-how gained through the project announced today will be shared globally, enhancing Nissan’s global competitiveness,” he said.

Nissan said its new crossover would be exported to European markets.

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