Nissan has announced a major expansion of electric vehicle production at its car plant in Sunderland which will create 1,650 new jobs.
The Japanese carmaker will build its new-generation all-electric model at the site as part of a £1bn investment that will also support thousands of jobs in the supply chain.
And Nissan’s partner, Envision AESC, will build an electric battery plant.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it a “pivotal moment”.
Of the £1bn investment, Nissan said it would invest up to £423m to produce a new-generation all-electric vehicle in the UK, building on the success of its existing electric car, the Leaf.
Production of the new model will create 909 new jobs and more than 4,500 in its UK supply chain.
Other production locations have not yet been confirmed. More details about the new vehicle will be released closer to the car’s launch date.
Envision’s new gigafactory will eventually provide batteries to power up to 100,000 Nissan electric vehicles a year. It will create 750 new jobs and secure 300 existing roles.
It is hoped the new plant will operational in time for 2024, when the level of UK-made components in cars manufactured in the UK is required to start increasing, in line with the terms of the UK’s trade deal with the EU.
The majority of Nissan’s Sunderland-assembled cars are sold in the EU.
The news that Nissan is pumping hundreds of millions of pounds into a massive expansion of UK-based electric car manufacturing is a huge boost to the North East and the UK car industry as a whole. These are long-term investments that will create thousands of jobs. The prime minister and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will welcome the chance to answer critics who say the UK is falling behind European rivals in securing all-important battery production capacity, seen as essential as a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030 approaches.
But amidst the euphoria, a few sobering facts. By industry estimates, the UK is currently on course to have less than a tenth of the battery production capacity of Germany by 2025. From 2024, under the terms of the UK-EU Brexit deal, the percentage of components required to be sourced within the UK or EU begins to rise if UK-assembled cars are to avoid tariffs when exported to the EU – where most Nissans are sold. If you don’t have a battery industry, you won’t have a car industry.