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Nissan Commits Over $2 Billion to Build Next-Generation Electric Vehicles in Sunderland

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Nov 24, 2023

Nissan has announced plans to build new all-electric models of two of its most popular vehicles, the Juke and Qashqai SUVs, at its manufacturing plant in Sunderland, UK. The Japanese automaker will invest over $2 billion to produce the electric crossover models, which will replace the current internal combustion engine (ICE) versions by 2026.

New Electric Models to Secure Thousands of British Jobs

The new investment, which has been secured with the help of government support, will consolidate Sunderland’s status as a major global hub for Nissan and a leading producer of electric vehicles.

Nissan stated that the new models will create over 1,500 new jobs in Sunderland and across the British supply chain. This is in addition to the 6,200 already employed at the factory. Nissan’s announcement guarantees the jobs of the factory’s workforce, providing welcome relief to a region that was worried about the impacts of Brexit uncertainty and Britain’s 2030 ban on new ICE car sales.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps said Nissan’s vote of confidence endorsed Britain’s automotive sector as "open for business". It also signals encouraging progress toward the UK government’s agenda for promoting electrified transportation and creating more skilled engineering jobs nation-wide.

Next-Gen EVs Inspired by Bold Concept Cars

Nissan revealed that designing and developing the new Juke and Qashqai EVs in Britain has enabled more flexibility compared to working with teams in Japan. The company hinted that future battery electric versions of these popular nameplates will take styling and technology cues from Nissan’s recent Ariya, Chill-Out, and Surf-Out concept cars which preview more emotive styling.

Industry analysts have suggested that Nissan’s upcoming EV models could adopt long-range solid state batteries being co-developed with NASA. This battery technology promises faster charging times and increased energy density compared to today’s lithium-ion cells. The new Juke and Qashqai EVs may also introduce advanced driver assistance features and refreshed connectivity based on Nissan’s latest ProPilot systems.

Concept Description
Nissan Ariya Futuristic electric midsize crossover SUV featuring lounge-like interior with flat floors and minimalist styling.
Nissan Chill-Out Iconic off-road EV concept with power open-air cabin, sustainability innovations, and rugged capability for overland adventures.
Nissan Surf-Out All-electric pickup truck merged with open-deck camper, enabling surfers to catch waves from their mobile basecamp.

New Battery Gigafactory to Support Expanding EV Production

As part of its objective to ramp up electric vehicle manufacturing in Sunderland, Nissan has confirmed plans for a new battery plant located next to the vehicle factory.

The 1.2 million square foot electric battery gigafactory will supply cells for the upcoming Juke EV and Qashqai EV when production begins in 2026. Nissan states it will invest $993 million in this facility alone as it pushes toward an all-electric lineup by the early 2030s.

The plant aims to produce enough batteries for up to 100,000 EVs per year by the mid-2020s. Its capacity is projected to increase further as Nissan transitions more models to full battery electric powertrains after 2026. This includes the next generations of the company’s successful Leaf hatchback and e-NV200 commercial van which are also made in Sunderland.

Nissan says the gigafactory’s location adjacent to the UK’s largest car factory will maximize manufacturing efficiency and quality control. The company adds that producing vehicle batteries so close to the actual EVs they will power reflects Nissan’s commitment to Sunderland and the surrounding region’s economy.

Government Support Essential for Nissan’s Transition

Nissan acknowledged that incentives from the UK government were key enablers behind committing additional long-term investment to Sunderland. Financial backing and policies that improve manufacturing competitiveness were required for Nissan to upgrade an aging factory designed primarily for fossil fuel vehicles.

Reports indicate that apart from subsidies supporting the plant’s transition to EVs, Nissan will benefit from expanded local infrastructure. This includes a new solar farm contributing clean energy and planned upgrades to ensure stable electrical grids can meet the gigafactory’s high capacity demands.

Business experts warn that as automakers receiver greater public funds to electrify vehicles, they must fulfill promises to retain jobs and enable economic growth. Government representatives assert that supporting advanced transportation technology today will build economic resilience and prosperity for communities in the future. It may also make Britain less reliant on imported vehicles and energy while combating climate change.

What Happens Next?

Nissan states it will work closely with UK suppliers to source components and new battery chemistry solutions for its upcoming electric models. Construction of the Sunderland gigafactory is slated to begin in 2024, while engineers are already designing and testing next-gen EV powertrains.

Industry analysts project that enhancing Sunderland’s manufacturing will solidify Nissan’s presence in Europe’s second largest car market. It may also attract partners to build batteries and EV parts locally through Britain’s developing electric vehicle supply chain.

As Nissan ramps up electric vehicle production in Sunderland after 2026, communities hope to see creation of more skilled technician and engineering jobs. The announcement has built optimism that Nissan will remain committed to the region beyond 2030 when the UK’s phaseout of new internal combustion engine cars takes effect.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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