Nissan is supporting 2000 jobs in the UK
Sunderland - Arabstoday
Nissan is today celebrating the dawn of a bold new era in European car manufacturing with the official start of production of the new and improved, 100% electric Nissan LEAF.
This new Nissan LEAF, incorporating more than 100 updates, is now rolling off the line at the company's record-breaking plant in the English city of Sunderland, using advanced lithium-ion batteries manufactured in Nissan's new UK Battery Plant.
Today marks the culmination of four years of preparation at the plant and a previously announced £420m investment by Nissan. Together the Battery Plant and Nissan LEAF production are supporting jobs for more than 2000 people in the UK car industry, including more than 500 directly at Nissan.
Nissan's continuing innovation means the world's best-selling electric vehicle is now even better. The new LEAF for 2013 has more than 100 updates aimed at making Nissan's zero-emissions technology accessible to even more European drivers, including an increased driving range of 199km (124 miles) and the ability to recharge in half the time of the first-generation LEAF.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Nissan's record breaking year last year is a success story for UK volume car manufacturing and demonstrates how our automotive industry is competing and thriving in the global race. I warmly welcome the production of the new electric LEAF model and battery plant at Sunderland. This £420 million investment, backed by Government, is supporting over 2000 jobs in our automotive sector including more than 500 at Nissan in Sunderland, helping people in the area who want to work hard and get on.
This historic launch event comes as Nissan Sunderland Plant celebrates making more than seven million units since its opening in 1986. Last year it produced 510,572 vehicles and so became the first UK car factory ever to make more than half a million cars in one year.
Nissan's Executive Vice President Andy Palmer celebrated the official start of electric vehicle production with the 6100 staff now employed on site. "Today's announcement progresses Nissan's unwavering commitment to zero emissions motoring.
"The Nissan LEAF is our most technically advanced car yet and the launch of this new model, built along with its batteries in Sunderland, is a huge boost not only for the plant but for British manufacturing. We have been showing that you can operate a world-beating plant in the UK for almost 30 years and the construction of the Battery Plant is a vote of confidence in the country's ability to support high-technology manufacturing."
With more than 55,000 Nissan LEAFs on the world's roads today, and with two years of real-world zero emissions experience behind it, today's announcement marks the start of an exciting chapter for Nissan. The Nissan LEAF is now built in three locations worldwide: Sunderland, UK; Smyrna, Tennessee, USA; and Oppama, Japan.
The new Nissan LEAF soon will be joined by all-electric versions of the award-winning NV200, to be called e-NV200, in both light commercial van and five-seat combi versions. Development of a dedicated EV taxi based on the e-NV200 is also underway. An Infiniti EV is expected in 2015.