Nissan has confirmed wide-reaching plans to electrify its operations in Sunderland, UK with a £1bn commitment to producing EV batteries and an all-new electric car at the site.
The manufacturer's new 'EV36Zero' initiative is jointly funded by Nissan, its battery production partner Envision AESC and Sunderland City Council. It will, says the brand, bring together "electric vehicles, renewable energy and battery production, setting a blueprint for the future of the automotive industry".
The project represents around 6200 jobs at the site and across its supply chain, with 900 new roles created at Nissan and 750 at Envision. The firm's EV36Zero plans have been announced to coincide with the Sunderland factory's 35th anniversary.
Nissan recently outlined plans to expand its Sunderland battery production facility, run by engineering partner Envision, to supply larger power packs for the UK-built Nissan Leaf, in line with post-Brexit foreign trade rules. Now, an all-new facility will supply power packs for all Nissan EVs, as Nissan works to create "a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem".
The new, dedicated battery factory will far exceed the 1.9GWh capacity of that existing facility with an eventual capacity of 35GWh - matching the output of Tesla's site in Nevada. With Envision initially investing £450m, it will enter operations with a capacity of 9GWh, ramping up to 25GWh by 2030 and full capacity ten years later, with Envision's investment eventually amounting to £1.8bn. Nissan said it will supply batteries for up to 100,000 of its EVs per year.
Having produced batteries for the Leaf and eNV200 van in the UK since 2012, Envision will seek to "increase the cost-competitiveness of EV batteries produced in the UK" with new 'Gen5' battery technology offering 30% more energy density for improved range and efficiency.
UK production of the new units will also make them cheaper, and as a result will make "EVs accessibly to a growing number of customers in the future", said Nissan.