It will be built on the Nissan-Renault Alliance CMF-EV platform which is already used by Nissan’s first electric SUV, the soon-to-arrive, Japan-built Ariya. From the sketches, the newcomer looks more city-slicker crossover than the more SUV-like Ariya.
Nissan will be able to make 100,000 of them a year for sale in the UK and export to European markets, with production expected to be under way by 2024 though no date for a launch has been confirmed. The batteries are likely to be exported around the world to power a range of Alliance electric models.
Nissan is joined in the £1bn project, tagged EV36Zero, by long-time battery partner Envision AESC which has been making batteries for the Leaf in Sunderland since 2012. The new gigafactory will be able to turn out “Gen5” batteries 30 per cent more energy dense for better range and, says Envision, at lower cost, bringing down the price of electric vehicles.
With the support of Sunderland City Council and the Government, the new electric car hub will comprise other zero emission initiatives including using renewable energy for car production and storing electricity in “second life” EV car batteries.
UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng called the project a “fantastic investment”. He said: “This is a huge step forward in our ambition to put the UK at the front of the global electric vehicle race, and further proof, if any was needed, that the UK remains one of the most competitive locations in the world for automotive manufacturing.”