28.3.2013Nissan begins LEAF production in UK
Today, Nissan is beginning a new era in European car manufacturing with the official start of production of the new and improved all-electric 2013 LEAF model.
This new Nissan LEAF, incorporating more than 100 updates, is now rolling off the line at the company's Sunderland Plant, using advanced lithium-ion batteries that are also manufactured in the UK, at Nissan's new Battery Plant.
Today marks the culmination of four years of preparation at the plant and a previously announced £420m investment by Nissan into electric motoring. Together the Battery Plant and Nissan LEAF production are supporting jobs for more than 2,000 people in the UK car industry.
Nissan's continuing innovation means the world's best-selling electric vehicle is now even better. The new 2013 LEAF model 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 123 miles and the ability to recharge in half the time of the first-generation LEAF.
UK 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."
"The Government has committed £400 million to make the UK a leading market for ultra low carbon vehicles. Nissan's announcement shows the confidence the company has in the skills-base and the business environment in the UK and that the UK is open for business."
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. The time and investment that has led to Nissan producing electric vehicles and their batteries in the UK shows Nissan's commitment to the new technology.
There are currently more than 55,000 Nissan LEAFs on the world's roads today, and Nissan now have two years of real-world zero emissions experience behind them. The Nissan LEAF now is built in three locations worldwide: Sunderland, UK; Smyrna, Tennessee, USA; and Oppama, Japan.
The launch of three new grades, new interior trim, the addition of Nissan's Around View Monitor technology and new suspension settings specifically tailored for European roads are some of the additional features offered on the new LEAF version.
In the last 12 months, Nissan has increased the number of dealers selling the LEAF from 200 to 1,400 and the number of charging points in Europe has grown from 12,000 to more than 20,000, proving that electric vehicles are becoming increasingly attractive, and a viable option for more and more private and business applications.