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Nissan Takes Charge with £2B Investment in UK EV Manufacturing Facility

Nissan, in collaboration with its partners, has disclosed a £2 billion initiative to manufacture three electric car models at its Sunderland factory. The Japanese automaker is set to produce electric versions of the Qashqai and Juke models, in addition to the upcoming generation of the electric Leaf, which is already in production at the same facility. The project is anticipated to safeguard approximately 6,000 direct jobs and support thousands more across the United Kingdom.

In conjunction with this development, Nissan highlighted the necessity for a substantial new battery plant, often referred to as a “gigafactory.” This new facility will supplement the existing factory adjacent to the car plant and another gigafactory currently under construction by Nissan’s partner, AESC.

The financial commitment from Nissan towards preparing its UK facilities and supply chain for the production of the new electric models, as well as workforce training, amounts to £1.12 billion. In combination with the gigafactory, the overall new investment is expected to reach up to £2 billion, as stated by the company.

Lei Zhang, Chairman of AESC, indicated that a feasibility study is underway to expand the gigafactory operations in Sunderland. The plan is anticipated to receive government support, although the specific form of support is yet to be clarified. Nissan has confirmed receiving £15 million in funding for its research center in Bedfordshire.

Despite earlier concerns expressed by Nissan’s former Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta about the UK’s competitiveness due to higher manufacturing costs, energy bills, and inflation, Alan Johnson, Nissan’s Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Supply Chain, emphasized that the UK can be competitive for car production if all the necessary factors align.

The UK government has extended support to Nissan through the Automotive Transformation Fund, receiving a £2 billion top-up in the recent Autumn Statement. However, Mr. Johnson declined to disclose the exact amount of funding received from UK taxpayers, stating that ongoing discussions with the government have not concluded.

The article also touches upon Brexit-related challenges, such as potential tariffs on cars sold between the UK and the EU and the need for carmakers to meet component-sourcing requirements. Nissan, which exports 80% of its vehicles from the Sunderland plant, sees exportation as crucial to its success.

The article concludes with insights into the broader context of electric vehicle manufacturing in the UK, including concerns raised by other carmakers about tariffs, the status of battery production plants, and the impact of the UK government’s decision to postpone the ban on new petrol and diesel cars until 2035. The postponement has led to a revised estimate from the Office for Budget Responsibility, predicting that only 38% of new vehicles sold in the UK in 2027 will be electric, lower than the previous forecast of 67% in March.

by Paul Britton

Full-time CBG author covering everything from business to wellbeing news, in Cyprus. and abroad.
Tags: Nissan

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