Nissan also said that construction of its advanced lithium-ion battery plant, announced last year, will begin this April. The facility, which will be located at Sunderland, will have a production capacity of 60,000 units a year and will start manufacturing batteries in 2012 for both Nissan and its Alliance partner Renault.
The production of Nissan LEAF and the batteries represents a total investment of more than 420 million GBP (468.2 million euros) in the Sunderland Plant and is expected to maintain about 2,250 jobs at Nissan and across the UK supply chain. The investment will be supported by a 20.7 million GBP (23.1 million euros) Grant for Business Investment (GBI) from the UK Government and a proposed finance package from the European Investment Bank of up to 220 million euros (197.3 million GBP).
Production of Nissan LEAF will begin in Oppama, Japan later this year followed by Smyrna, Tennessee, USA in 2012. Sunderland will come on-line in early 2013 with an initial annual production capacity of about 50,000 units.
The three production sites will support the sales launch of the model, which begins in late 2010 in Japan, the United States and selected European markets, ahead of global mass marketing from 2012.
Nissan and its Alliance partner Renault are the only automakers committed to mass marketing pure electric vehicles on a global scale and together have announced production capacity of 500,000 units per year. To date, the Alliance has entered into more than 50 partnerships worldwide with countries, cities, organisations and other key stakeholders to prepare the markets and infrastructure for the successful adoption of EVs around the world.
Work to integrate Nissan LEAF into Sunderland's manufacturing process will begin in 2012. The car will be launched on the plant's 'Number 2' production line alongside the recently unveiled Juke compact crossover car, which enters production in August 2010.
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