Currently reading: Nissan Leaf's Sunderland deal
Electric car to be built in UK

The Nissan Leaf will be built in Sunderland from 2013, the company has announced.

Nissan's decision to build the five-seat electric car in the UK will result in the creation of Europe's largest electric car plant. Initial production will be 50,000 units a year.

Nissan also says the decision will protect 2250 jobs at Sunderland, and within its supply chain.

The announcement follows a state pledge to supply over half of the £420m of investment needed to start production. The Department for Business will grant £20.7m towards the plant, while the European Investment Bank will invest £197.3m.

The news will come as a relief to workers at the Sunderland plant, after an initial plan to build the Leaf there was scuppered when BMW rather than Nissan was offered the 2012 London Olympic car sponsorship deal.

Nissan also pointed out that Britain's environmental policy helped its decision, including the "commitment to a low-carb future in terms of infrastructure, customer incentives and educational promotions".

One North East, a regional development agency, has already agreed to provide a network of 619 charging points, dedicated electric vehicle parking spaces and priority road lanes in and around Sunderland.

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sportwagon 18 March 2010

Re: Nissan Leaf's Sunderland deal

This car will never be all things to all people, but it will have great appeal to anyone who does mainly short journeys, and that includes quite a lot of folk. It's good to see it being built in Sunderland; it's a very efficient factory turning out high quality cars and green high-tech products like this are just what we need to get the economy moving again.

I wouldn't worry about Nissan not being the Olympic Games car, the games are already a shambles and will probably get worse. It will probably be BMW that gets the egg on its face and Nissan could be the ones to benefit from Boris Johnson's enthusiasm for electric cars and developing the infrastructure for them, which is more likely to be an enduring thing.

Trevorminor 18 March 2010

Re: Nissan Leaf's Sunderland deal

This all looks like Nissan going up a blind alley. The car may be zero emissions but the power station generating the electricity is certainly not.

Politicians seem to be happy to jump on the bandwagon - a shame that the full picture is obscured by supposed 'green thinking'.The big minuses are likely to be the maximum 100 mile range (less than that in reality?) and the no doubt hefty list price. The price will need to be heavily subsidised but that is no basis for a sustainable future for this type of car.At least Nissan are not too ambitious with the production figures at just 50,000 pa.Far more interesting is the investment by Ford in developing the future of petrol technology at Dagenham.

Buzz Cagney 18 March 2010

Re: Nissan Leaf's Sunderland deal

Did anybody else hear Jeremy Vine on Radio2 today trying to draw comparisons between this and the DeLorean catastrophe? Talk about desperate radio! Not for the first time I found myself longing for Jimmy Young!

Anyway, I think this is good news. The broader choice you for how to run your personal transport the better.