Nissan ‘is in advanced talks with UK government’ over massive new car battery factory that will bring thousands of jobs to Sunderland
- Proposed ‘gigafactory’ would be installed at Nissan’s existing hub in North East
- It would employ thousands and assist in the production of 200,000 battery cars
- Nissan hopes Britain will become its largest production site outside of Japan
Nissan is in advanced talks with the UK government to build a huge car battery factory that would bring thousands of jobs to Sunderland, reports say.
The factory would be created at Nissan’s existing hub in the North East and assist in the production of 200,000 battery cars per year, according to the Financial Times.
The ‘gigafactory’ will reportedly be built under a post-Brexit plan to make Britain Nissan’s largest electric car production site outside of Tochigi, Japan.
An announcement by the Japanese carmaker could emerge ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow this November.
However, Nissan will reportedly need millions of pounds in financial support from the UK government in order to make their plans a reality.
Nissan is in advanced talks with the UK government to build a huge car battery factory that would bring thousands of jobs to Sunderland, reports say. Pictured: The current Nissan factory in Sunderland
The factory would be created at Nissan’s existing hub in the North East and assist in the production of 200,000 battery cars per year, it was said. Pictured: Stock image
A Downing Street spokesman declined to comment on any potential plans when approached by the Financial Times.
He said: ‘We are dedicated to securing gigafactories, and continue to work closely with investors and vehicle manufacturers to progress plans to mass produce batteries in the UK.’
Nissan said earlier this year it planned to bring production of a larger battery for its electric Leaf model to the UK from the US amid post-Brexit trading agreements.
The ‘gigafactory’ site would produce six gigawatt hours of battery capacity per year and would open towards the end of 2024, insiders said.
What is a ‘gigafactory’?
The phrase ‘gigafactory’ once referred specifically to a factory being built by US electric car firm Tesla near Reno, Nevada.
However, it can now be attributed to factories that will produce batteries for electric vehicles on a gigantic scale.
The process is extremely complex, and requires a number of different processes.
Tesla’s factory in Reno takes in 1.9 million square feet, and covers 43 acres.
The carmaker is also set to build a ‘gigafactory’ near Gruenheide, Germany.
French car maker PSA Group and battery manufacturer Saft last year confirmed plans for two European ‘gigafactories’.
These will be in France and Germany.
This could later rise to 18-20GWh.
The site would eclipse the current Sunderland plant which has a capacity of 1.9GWh.
The ‘gigafactory’ would be run by Nissan’s Chinese battery maker Envision AESC.
Operations chief Ashwani Gupta said in May that Sunderland is ‘one of the best plants in the world for Nissan in terms of competitiveness’.
Nissan hopes that the UK could become its largest electric car production site after Tochigi in Japan.
Last June, Nissan warned its current Sunderland plant with 7,000 staff would have become ‘unsustainable’ if the UK had failed to strike a Brexit trade deal with Europe.
Gupta said the company would not be able to stand by its commitment to the plant if the UK left the European Union without a trade deal that enabled tariff-free EU access.
Mr Gupta said: ‘You know we are the number one carmaker in the UK and we want to continue. We are committed.
‘Having said that, if we are not getting the current tariffs, it’s not our intention but the business will not be sustainable.
‘That’s what everybody has to understand.’
The Nissan factory in Sunderland opened in April 1984 and has since produced millions of cars.
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