Nissan and its partners will invest over $1 billion in England to create a large manufacturing hub specialized in electric vehicles. They will build a gigafactory, and the firm plans to launch a locally-built EV in the coming years.
Called EV36Zero, the project calls for an injection of £1 billion (about $1.38 billion) into the area surrounding Nissan's existing site in Sunderland, England. Part of the money will be used to build a gigafactory with an annual capacity of nine gigawatt hours, and some of that sum will pay for updates needed by the Sunderland factory. China's Envision AESC and the Sunderland City Council are contributing to the project.
Politicians (including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson) applauded the investment. The project should create about 6,200 jobs, including 900 Nissan positions at a plant whose future was all but certain until earlier in 2021.
Envision AESC already makes battery cells for the Leaf in Sunderland. It explained the units it plans to manufacture in its soon-to-be-built gigafactory will be fifth-generation models with about 30% more energy density, which reportedly improves driving range. Nissan EVs launched during the 2020s will benefit from this technology.
Little is known about the EV that will be built in England; its name hasn't even been announced yet. Nissan released a vague statement promising "next-generation vehicle styling, efficiency, and battery technology." It's too early to tell if it's related to the Leaf or to the Ariya unveiled in 2020. It was designed with global markets in mind, according to the firm, and the plant will have a 100,000-unit capacity, but we don't know if America is one of its target markets. "We’ll provide more information about the product as we get closer to start of sales," a representative told Autoblog.
The preview image released by Nissan depicts a futuristic-looking car with a relatively high ground clearance and a fastback roofline. Styling cues like oversized wheels suggest it's closer to a concept than to a production car.
There's no word yet on when the gigafactory will be completed, let alone when it will begin making battery cells, or when the crossover will hit reach showrooms. More details about these projects will emerge in the next few years.
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