26.3.2012 New Zero Emission Centre for North East
Nissan and Gateshead College are to develop a Zero Emission Centre of Excellence (ZECE) in the North East of England.
The new centre will act as a business incubator for the electric vehicle industry, creating jobs in the region and developing knowledge and technology. Research will initially focus on charging infrastructure and battery second life.
Nissan has a longstanding relationship with Gateshead College for the training and development of staff at its Sunderland Plant. The two organisations have also worked together to develop the Gateshead College Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation, and through the college's lease of the test track at Nissan Sunderland Plant for the Zero Carbon Futures Performance Track for the low carbon vehicle industry.
The ZECE will also act as a home for the manufacturing of Nissan’s cutting-edge rapid or ‘quick' charging technology, which allows ChadeMo compliant electric vehicles to charge to 80% in just 30 minutes. This follows an agreement with charging station manufacturer DBT to set up a new production facility at the centre which will produce up to 1,000 units a year for the European market.
The target is to have a network of quick charge stations across Europe with thousands of units in place by the end of 2015. To kick start this ambitious programme Nissan is giving 400 units away to Zero Emissions Mobility partners and volunteering companies in Europe.
The Centre will also investigate the best opportunities for second life use of lithium-ion batteries that have been used previously in Nissan’s electric vehicles. Among the applications to be explored, the Zero Emission Centre of Excellence will focus on solutions to store the energy produced from renewable sources.
Etienne Henry, Head of the Nissan’s Zero Emission Business Unit in Europe, commented: “This project will help Nissan to investigate the unique opportunities that our electric vehicle business brings as regards to charging infrastructure and battery second life.
“For many of these aspects of our business we will need commercial partners, funding or the agreement of public and private entities and this agreement with Gateshead College will help us do that. With production of the Nissan LEAF coming to Sunderland in early 2013, the North East will become the epicentre of electric vehicle expertise in Europe.”
Richard Thorold, Principal of Gateshead College, said: “Gateshead College is proud to be Nissan Sunderland Plant’s preferred training provider... This exciting new development will build upon recent investments by Nissan, the North East of England, the UK Government and the College, and takes us forward as a centre at the forefront of international automotive and low carbon technology.”
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