Business secretary Lord Mandelson has told Nissan it should start making batteries in the north east to complement the planned introduction of electric car manufacturing in the region.
Speaking today during a visit to Nissan’s Sunderland plant Lord Mandelson said: “It is important to make sure the planning and investment is put in place to take advantage of a future upturn.
"I want to see not just electric cars produced here, I want to see batteries produced here."
Last year Nissan announced a partnership with electronics company NEC, and committed to a combined investment of $1.1bn (£750 million) in the development of electric vehicle battery technology.
The joint venture in the Japanese region of Kanagawa will eventually produce 65,000 batteries per year by 2011, for use in Nissan hybrid cars.
Nissan has also committed to developing electric vehicles and electric vehicle technology with its French partner Renault, a move that may prompt Nissan to invest in battery production close to Renault’s French manufacturing sites.