Nissan announces a large British battery factory in the £ 1 billion Sunderland plan

Nissan has unveiled plans for a large-scale battery factory as part of a £ 1 billion electricity investment that will secure the future of its Sunderland carmaker beyond the UK’s ban on selling gasoline and diesel in 2030.

In a move that raises hopes that the UK can attract the investment in batteries needed to support its wider car industry, the Japanese car giant will create more than 6,000 direct and indirect jobs by developing the new plant. next to its existing car facility, and promising to build a new electric car on its site.

Battery supplier Nissan Envision AESC, which already manages a small battery facility in Sunderland, will invest £ 450 million in the construction of the plant, which will create 750 shares.

The car will then invest £ 423 million to make a new electric model at its car plant, using batteries from the new plant, in a move that will generate 900 jobs.

Companies estimate that this will lead to employment for 4,550 other people in the supply chain.

The first phase of the site will have a capacity of 9 Gigawatt hours, capable of producing enough batteries per 100,000 vehicles per year.

If demand for Nissan’s electric vehicles grows sharply, Envision may invest another £ 1.8 billion to expand the new plant to 25GWh by the end of the decade.

To help with the first phase of the project, Sunderland City Council will invest £ 80 million to create more energy for the site by installing wind farms, solar parks and a facility dedicated to the supply of energy made from electric car batteries. used.

The development is the first large-scale battery plant to be built in the UK, and comes as world governments. race to attract investment in the field to support their automotive industries as they move from combustion engines to electricity.

British ministers have set aside £ 500 million to care for investors, although the industry has warned that the sum is too small compared to the £ 2.9 billion the EU makes available to its members.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng called the investment “a big step forward in our ambition to put the UK at the forefront of the global electric vehicle race”.

Nissan chief executive Ashwani Gupta called it a “prime day” for business.

With the UK government phasing out the sale of petrol and diesel models by 2030, car manufacturers with British plants will need to supply batteries and increase production of electric vehicles by the end of the decade.

Due to its weight, car manufacturers tend to buy batteries near the vehicle factory, meaning that structures in the UK are needed to maintain production at current sites including Toyota, Mini, Vauxhall and Jaguar Land Rover.

Earlier this week the Society of Engine Manufacturers and Traders warned that Britain needs 60GWh of battery plants just to maintain the current size of the industry. In a worst-case scenario, with just one large-scale project in the country, more than 90,000 roles could be lost, he warned.

Mike Hawes, executive director of SMMT, said Nissan’s investment is “a real vote of confidence, but it’s still just one” on a number that needs to happen to safeguard the country’s vast factory network.

“It’s a very competitive industry, and we need more of that,” he added.

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