Nissan has unveiled plans for a new electric vehicle hub centred around its Sunderland plant in the North East, which could bring thousands of green jobs to the UK.
The Nissan EV36Zero will be a flagship Electric Vehicle (EV) Hub creating a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem and is a key part of the drive to achieve carbon neutrality and establish a 360-degree solution for zero-emission motoring.
The transformational project has been launched with an initial £1bn investment by Nissan and its partners Envision AESC, a global player in world-leading battery technology, and Sunderland City Council. Comprised of three interconnected initiatives, Nissan EV36Zero brings together electric vehicles, renewable energy and battery production, setting a blueprint for the future of the automotive industry.
Nissan president and chief executive officer, Makoto Uchida said:
"This project comes as part of Nissan’s pioneering efforts to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the entire lifecycle of our products. Our comprehensive approach includes not only the development and production of EVs, but also the use of on-board batteries as energy storage and their reuse for secondary purposes.
"Our announcement today comes out of lengthy discussions held within our teams and will greatly accelerate our efforts in Europe to achieve carbon neutrality. The experience and know-how gained through the project announced today will be shared globally, enhancing Nissan’s global competitiveness.
"Nissan will continue to leverage its strengths in electrification to become a company that continues to provide value to its customers and society."
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
"Nissan’s announcement to build its new-generation all-electric vehicle in Sunderland, alongside a new Gigafactory from Envision-AESC, is a major vote of confidence in the UK and our highly-skilled workers in the North East.
"Building on over 30 years of history in the area, this is a pivotal moment in our electric vehicle revolution and securing its future for decades to come."
"Commitments like these exemplify our ability to create hundreds of green jobs and boost British industry, whilst also allowing people to travel in an affordable and sustainable way so we can eliminate our contributions to climate change."
Building on Nissan’s 35 years of manufacturing in Sunderland, the projects announced today represent 6,200 jobs at Nissan and its UK suppliers, including more than 900 new Nissan jobs and 750 new Envision AESC jobs at its new smart, low-carbon battery plant. Longer-term, the transformational project modernises and expands Nissan’s EV production capability in the UK.
Envision AESC, the battery arm of global green tech company Envision Group, will deploy integrated AIoT smart technology to monitor and optimize energy consumption, manufacturing and maintenance at the new Gigafactory, enabling it to rapidly increase production and provide batteries to power up to 100,000 Nissan electric vehicles a year.
UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
"This fantastic investment by Nissan and Envision AESC represents a solemn commitment to the people of Sunderland, bringing further high-skilled jobs and turbocharging our plans to level up the North East. 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.”
The flagship Electric Vehicle (EV) Hub will create a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem on the Sunderland site. Bringing this ecosystem together, Sunderland City Council is leading a project that aims to deliver a 100% renewable electricity ’Microgrid’ that will save 55,000 tonnes of carbon annually.
With the ability to incorporate the existing Nissan wind and solar farms, initial plans suggest there could be as many as ten solar farms created, with an anticipated 132MW generation, with a direct connection to renewable energy from the UK grid for ’firm’ supply to Nissan and automotive companies located on the adjacent International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP). Plans will continue to be developed in close discussion with potential private sector green investors.
A first-of-its-kind, this project is estimated to be an £80 million investment and also includes plans for a 1MW battery storage system using second-life Nissan/Envision AESC batteries, which will also allow for excess energy generated during daylight hours to be captured and used at another time, helping to balance demand on the grid. Additional infrastructure projects enabling the creation of the new EV Hub take the total initial investment above £1bn.
Sunderland City Council leader, Councillor Graeme Miller, said:
"Sunderland is an ambitious city, and today’s announcement is game-changing one for us, for the region and for UK Plc, and the culmination of many months of partnership working with Nissan, Envision and UK Government to ensure that we landed this transformational project.
"We’re proud to be acting as a key enabler, working to secure an £80m infrastructure project that could be the first of its kind in the UK, bringing together energy generation, consumption and storage through a dedicated microgrid.
"We have a commitment to making Sunderland as a city carbon neutral by 2040 and electrification is a key part of that vision. Today’s announcement places Sunderland at the centre of electric vehicle production in Europe. It vindicates the unwavering belief this council has in the city’s ability to drive the electric revolution, working in partnership with the private sector and Government to bring nationally significant projects to fruition, creating jobs and prosperity for our people and businesses, and delivering cleaner, greener cars in the process."