Published on July 5th, 2021 | by Subhash Nair0
Why Is Nissan Investing In Sunderland, UK
Nissan has just announced a new “EV36Zero” Hub in their Sunderland plant. This project will cost the company a billion pounds. At a time when the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance is still in recovery, why have they decided to spend such a huge amount of money on a long term investment?
Well, truth be told, their contribution is less than half of that at £423 million in order to upgrade the Sunderland plant to produce the upcoming Nissan Ariya. This upgrading works will create 909 jobs at the plant and 4,500 in the UK supplier chain and keeping 75 existing R&D jobs on.
The company was actually one of the first in the industry to embrace electric mobility. Even when before Tesla Model S was even born, Nissan was already offering the LEAF to customers. This was more than ten years ago now.
Whatever hype and marketing value the Nissan LEAF could generate has been generated. I think Nissan realize that other manufacturers have already turned up with much sexier and in some cases more practical electric vehicles.
EV36Zero is a project that goes beyond just manufacturing electric vehicles. Nissan wants to create an entire ecosystem for renewable energy and battery production which will produce low-to-no carbon. When it’s operational, this facility will cut down on 55,000 tonnes of carbon annually.
The other half of this investment is actually coming from Envision AESC, a company that was co-founded by Nissan, but eventually sold to China’s Envision Group. They already had a plant in Sunderland that supplied batteries for the Nissan LEAF, but now the company will invest £450 million to build the first gigafactory in the UK for next-generation EV battery production.
So, that’s the other half of the equation. Nissan’s upgrading to make the Ariya and other future electric SUVs in the UK, while Envision AESC is upgrading to create a gigantic battery plant in the UK.
Here’s the press release with more.
Nissan today unveils Nissan EV36Zero, a £1 billion flagship Electric Vehicle (EV) Hub creating a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem.
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 £1bn investment by Nissan and its partners Envision AESC, a global player in world-leading battery technology, and 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.
Building on Nissan’s historic 35 years of manufacturing excellence in Sunderland, the projects announced today 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
As part of the £1 billion announcement, Nissan will invest up to £423 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.
Production in Sunderland will create 909 new jobs at the plant, and more than 4,500 in the UK supply chain, while safeguarding a further 75 R&D jobs. The transformational project takes the total capital investment by Nissan into the plant past £5bn, and also includes:
- R&D at Nissan’s European Technical Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire
- Support for UK suppliers to transition to electric vehicles
- Plant competitiveness and environmental improvements
- Skills development in the Nissan workforce for future technologies
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 £450 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 9GWh plant, with potential future-phase investment of £1.8bn 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.
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 ten solar farms created, with an anticipated 132MW 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.
A first-of-its-kind, this project is estimated to be an £80 million investment and also includes plans for a 1MW battery storage system using second-life Nissan EV/Envision AESC batteries, which will also allow for excess energy generated during daylight hours to be captured and used at another time, helping to balance demand on the grid. Additional infrastructure projects enabling the creation of the new EV Hub take the total initial investment above £1bn.