Business Secretary Lord Mandelson discusses government funding on visit to Sunderland
20 March 2009

Nissan could receive a government grant to build electric cars at its Sunderland base following an agreement announced today.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is visiting the Sunderland plant today to oversee the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Nissan and the regional development agency, One North East, as well as see the Qazana, which will be built at the plant.

Although the agreement is only to conduct a four-month feasibility study into developing the use of electric vehicles in the UK, it could lead to Nissan receiving government funding in exchange for agreeing to build the cars in Sunderland.

Andy Palmer, who is responsible for Nissan’s global EV strategy, said: “Nissan has made a clear commitment to lead the global automotive industry in the mass marketing of electric vehicles.

“To that end the Renault-Nissan Alliance has formed strategic partnerships with a growing number of governments, cities and organisations. Today’s signing with One North East will advance the deployment of EVs worldwide and promotes the north east as a region ready and willing to embrace zero emission mobility.”

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Nissan will launch its first electric cars in Japan and the US next year before marketing them globally from 2012.

Nissan axed 1200 jobs from its Sunderland factory earlier this year.

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