Nissan SunderlandUK – The OEM is investing £26.5m ($38.2m) to secure continued production at its lithium-ion facility, where 300 people are employed in manufacturing, maintenance and engineering. Nissan Sunderland has been making electric vehicles (EVs) since 2013, receiving £420m of investment for the purpose.

Referencing global sales for the Leaf of 200,000, Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe, said: “Today’s announcement reflects Nissan’s intention to remain EV leaders for many years to come, with our UK operations at the heart of our future innovations.”

Nissan will collaborate with academic and technology partners in a new, £19.4m project focused on the future generation of EV batteries, supported by a £9.7m grant from the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). The other members of the consortium are Hyperdrive Innovation, Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick, Newcastle University and Zero Carbon Futures. The partners will work together on the key areas of battery development: pilot projects, product diversification and process improvement.

Sunderland is one of three Nissan sites worldwide which are supplying battery modules for the Leaf and also the e-NV200 van, which is made in Barcelona, Spain. This year, Nissan will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its Sunderland vehicle factory.