Nissan UK has started production of the new face lifted Leaf EV in its Sunderland factory. It follows a four-year investment in the factory and a new battery plant costing £420m.
The decision to produce the Nissan Leaf in Britain has created 2,000 new jobs, 500 of them directly with Nissan. This raises the total staff number to 6,100 at Sunderland. It has been backed by the UK Government with Prime Minister David Cameron commenting that the arrival of the LEAF in the UK shows that the car industry here is competing with the world.
“The Government has committed £400 million to make the UK a leading market for ultra-low carbon vehicles . Nissan’s announcement shows the confidence the company has in the skills-base and the business environment in the UK and that the UK is open for business.”
Nissan’s executive vice president, Andy Palmer said “The Leaf is our most technically advanced car yet and the launch of this new model, built along with its batteries in Sunderland, is a huge boost not only for the plant but for British manufacturing”.
Visiting the new production facility, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Nissan’s record breaking year last year is a success story for UK volume car manufacturing and demonstrates how our automotive industry is thriving in the global race”.
Nissan’s second-generation Leaf incorporates hundreds of small improvements over the original Leaf. The car’s range is increased to 124 miles from 109, and the battery can be recharged in half the time. A series of suspension changes aim to improve the Leaf’s composure on European roads whilst the introduction of an entry-level Visia trim will bring the price close to £20,000 with a Government grant.
There are now 55,000 Leafs on the world’s roads, being produced at three factories; Sunderland, Smyrna in America and Oppama, Japan.
It is just the start for Nissan too: it will soon introduce an all-electric version of the NV200, known as the e-NV200; as well as an Infiniti electric vehicle which is expected by 2015. Nissan also shares EV technology with Renault, it sister company which has a growing range of EV cars.
In the last 12 months, the number of Nissan dealers selling the LEAF have increased from just 200 to 1,400: while charging points for electric cars have grown from 12,000 to more than 20,000.
It is just the start for Nissan too: it will soon introduce an all-electric version of the NV200, known as the e-NV200; as well as an Infiniti electric vehicle which is expected by 2015.