Nissan announced on the 24th of November that it would expand its Sunderland facility to produce three electric vehicle models. The next generation Nissan LEAF, plus all-electric versions of the Qashqai, and the JUKE will all be produced at the Sunderland EV36Zero hub. The commitment includes up to GBP3 billion (USD3.78 billion) worth of investment into the hub and surrounding infrastructure.

A Boost to Sunderland

Nissan will expand the EV36Zero hub, that already produces the Nissan LEAF, for the two new electric vehicles. In the short term, it will invest GBP1.12 billion (USD1.41 billion) into its UK operations and wider supply chain. This includes facility and manufacturing process improvements, skills training, and tooling for suppliers. It follows on from a GBP423 million (USD533 million) investment in 2021.

Furthermore, Nissan said a third gigafactory will be required to support the plant’s expansion. Nissan already operates a 1.9GWh battery manufacturing facility as part of the EV36Zero hub. Additionally, its partner AESC is constructing a gigafactory nearby that will have a 12GWh capacity once complete in 2025, increasing to an eventual 35GWh. A third gigafactory along with accompanying infrastructure will lead to a GBP3 billion investment in the site. However, no indications were made regarding timelines or vehicle quantities.

The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, commented on the company’s investment as “a massive vote of confidence in the UK’s automotive industry.” It is expected Nissan’s investment will be backed by government funding, most likely through the recently announced automotive transformation fund. However, nothing has been mentioned by either the government or Nissan.

The EV36Zero Hub

Introduced in 2021, the EV36Zero initiative aims to integrate the production of electric vehicles, renewable energy, and on-site battery manufacturing, a blueprint for its future car manufacturing. As part of it, AESC outlined the establishment of the 35 GWh battery cell plant in Sunderland. The facilities also encompass Nissan’s current wind and solar farms, along with the addition of a new 20MW solar farm. The objective is to provide 100% renewable electricity to both the carmaker and its adjacent suppliers.

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Image credit: Nissan

Sources: Nissan