Huge jobs boost for North East under plans for major UK electric car expansion

The new gigafactory will create thousands of jobs in the North East (Photo: Getty Images)
The new gigafactory will create thousands of jobs in the North East (Photo: Getty Images)

A raft of new jobs will be created as Nissan announced plans to build a new electric model and huge battery plant in the UK.

The Japanese car giant will open up more than 1,600 jobs in Sunderland and an estimated 4,500 in supply companies, under an investment of £1 billion.

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What has the company said?

Nissan will invest more than £420 million in building a new generation of all-electric vehicle.

The company said its Electric Vehicle (EV) Hub will be a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem, and it will partner with Envision AESC, a global company in battery technology, and Sunderland City Council.

There will be three interconnected initiatives bringing together electric vehicles, renewable energy and battery production, which Nissan said sets a blueprint for the future of the automotive industry.

Nissan has said the project comes as part of the company’s efforts to achieve zero carbon emissions throughout the lifecycle of its products.

President and chief executive Makoto Uchida explained: “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.”

Unveiling the Nissan EV36Zero at the Sunderland plant, Nissan’s chief operating officer, Ashwani Gupta, described it as a landmark day for the company, UK and the automotive industry as a whole, saying it will “pioneer the next phase” in achieving “full electrification and “carbon neutrality”.

When will the site open?

The Nissan site in Sunderland will be responsible for the production of batteries for electric vehicles, in partnership with Envision AESC.

The company already has an existing battery factory in the region, which makes batteries that power the Nissan Leaf.

The new Sunderland site is expected to open in the next few years, with contributions from the UK government, and will create jobs at both the factory as well as in the supply chain.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the plan to build the all-electric vehicle in Sunderland, alongside a new gigafactory from Envision AESC, marks a huge boost for the highly skilled workers in the North East of England.

Mr Johnson added that not only will thousands of new jobs be created, but the plans also mark a positive step in the battle against climate change.

He said: “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.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng praised the investment and said it represents a “solemn commitment to the people of Sunderland”, in bringing more jobs to the area and helping with plans to “level up the North East”.

Mr Kwarteng added: “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.

“I am extremely proud that Nissan has not only reaffirmed its belief in Britain, but is doubling down on its longstanding commitment to our country.

“The cars made in this plant, using batteries made just down the road at the UK’s first at-scale gigafactory, will have a huge role to play as we transition away from petrol and diesel cars and kick-start a domestic electric vehicle manufacturing base.”