New Nissan Leaf EV 2010: The United Kingdom will become the third global manufacturing location for Nissan’s new dedicated electric vehicle, the Leaf, the automaker has announced. Production of the Nissan Leaf will begin in Oppama, Japan later this year followed by Smyrna, Tennessee, USA in 2012. The Japanese firm’s Sunderland plant in the UK will commence production in 2013 with an initial annual capacity of around 50,000 units.
Nissan also said that construction of its lithium-ion battery plant in Sunderland, announced last year, will begin this April. The facility is said to have a production capacity of 60,000 units a year and will start manufacturing batteries in 2012 for both Nissan and its alliance partner Renault that is readying its own series of dedicated electric vehicles.
Overall, the production of the Leaf and the batteries in Sunderland represents a total investment of more than 420 million GBP (€468.2 million or US$645 million) and is expected to protect 2,250 jobs at Nissan and its UK supply chain.
Nissan’s investment will be supported by a 20.7 million GBP (€23.1 million) Grant for Business Investment (GBI) from the UK Government and a proposed finance package from the European Investment Bank of up to €220 million (197.3 million GBP).
The Nissan Leaf is a compact-sized hatchback (think Ford Focus) built on a new platform that’s powered by a 107HP electric motor motivating the front wheels. It’s lithium-ion battery pack can be charged through any home outlet providing a driving range of over 160km or 100 miles.