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Nissan unveils flagship electric vehicle hub in UK

Nissan unveils flagship electric vehicle hub in UK
Photo courtesy of Nissan

Nissan unveiled a flagship electric vehicle (EV) hub creating a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem called Nissan EV36Zero.

Centered around the record-breaking plant in Sunderland, UK, Nissan EV36Zero will  supercharge the company’s drive to carbon neutrality and establish a new 360-degree  solution for zero-emission motoring. 

The transformational project has been launched with an initial total investment of GBP1 billion (USD1.4 billion) by Nissan and its partners Envision AESC, a global player in world-leading battery technology, and the 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.  

“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,” said Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer, Makoto Uchida.

“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.” 

Unveiling Nissan EV36Zero at the Sunderland Plant on July 1, Nissan’s Chief Operating  Officer, Ashwani Gupta, said: “This is a landmark day for Nissan, our partners, the UK  and the automotive industry as a whole. Nissan EV36Zero will transform the idea of  what is possible for our industry and set a roadmap for the future for all. 

“We reached a new frontier with the Nissan LEAF, the world’s first mass-market all electric vehicle. Now, with our partners, Nissan will pioneer the next phase of the  automotive industry as we accelerate towards full electrification and carbon neutrality.” 

Building on Nissan’s historic 35 years of manufacturing excellence in Sunderland, the  projects announced on July 1 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 modernizes 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 its new gigafactory, enabling it to rapidly increase  production and provide batteries to power up to 100,000 Nissan electric vehicles a year. 

A new-generation electric crossover  

Nissan will invest up to GBP423 million (USD583 million) to produce a new-generation all-electric vehicle in the UK. Building on Nissan’s expertise in  crossovers and the worldwide success of the Nissan LEAF, it promises next-generation  vehicle styling, efficiency and battery technology, making the switch to electric driving  even more accessible. 

Designed for global markets, UK production will be exported to the European markets  traditionally served by Nissan’s Sunderland plant. The new crossover will be built on the  Alliance CMF-EV platform, with a forecasted production capacity of up to 100,000 units  to be installed.

Other production locations have not yet been confirmed. More details about the new  vehicle, including pricing and technology, will be released closer to the car’s sales  launch. 

With next-generation EV batteries 

Envision AESC already owns and operates Europe’s first battery plant in Sunderland,  established in 2012 for the localization of Nissan LEAF battery production. The factory’s  UK team has nine years’ expertise from supplying batteries to the Nissan LEAF and  eNV200, having produced enough cells, modules and packs to power over 180,000  electric vehicles in 44 countries, meeting global benchmark levels of quality,  performance, safety, reliability and cost.  

Supporting this new model allocation, Envision AESC will invest GBP450 million (USD620 million) to build the  UK’s first gigafactory on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP),  adjacent to the Nissan plant, powered by renewable energy and pioneering next generation battery technology. 

The formal planning process is about to begin for the new gigafactory, which represents  an initial 9 gigawatt-hour (GWh) plant, with potential future-phase investment of GBP1.8 billion by Envision  AESC, generating up to 25GWh and creating 4,500 new high-value green jobs in the  region by 2030, with potential on site for up to 35GWh. The new plant will increase the cost-competitiveness of EV batteries produced in the UK, including through a new Gen5  battery cell with 30% more energy density which improves range and efficiency. This  commitment will power Nissan’s new vehicles, supporting the continued localization of  vehicle parts and components with advanced technology. This will make batteries  cheaper and EVs more accessible to a growing number of customers in the future. 

The new gigafactory will create 750 jobs and safeguard the jobs of 300 current  employees. 

Lei Zhang, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Envision Group, said: “Envision  Group’s mission is to be the net zero technology partner of choice for global enterprises,  governments, and cities. We are therefore delighted to be a part of EV36Zero with  Nissan and Sunderland City Council.  

“This commitment builds on our long-term partnership with Nissan to achieve our global  ambition to make high performance, longer range batteries for EVs affordable and  accessible for millions more motorists.  

Zero Emission vehicles and Zero Emission Manufacturing 

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 10 solar farms created, with an anticipated 132 megawatts (MW) generation, and 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.