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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nissan to build 50,000 Leaf EVs a year in Sunderland UK

The Japanese carmaker said today the Leaf will be the world's first mass-produced zero-emission car. Around 50,000 will be made in Sunderland each year, as well as 60,000 batteries, creating more than 550 jobs.

Production of the five-seater hatchback, due to be launched next March will begin in 2013 in Sunderland and forms part of a £420m investment by the Japanese company in its UK operations.

Sunderland had been tipped as favourite for European production of the Leaf since Nissan sited its electric car battery plant nearby. Founded in 1984, Nissan's Sunderland factory employs around 4,000 people.

Nissan's investment will be supported by a £20.7m grant from the UK government and a proposed finance package from the EIB of up to £197.3m.

Andy Palmer, senior vice-president for Nissan's global electric vehicle strategy, said: "Thanks to the UK's firm commitment to a low-carbon future in terms of infrastructure, customer incentives and educational programmes, the Nissan Leaf will be built at Sunderland, making the UK the third country in the world to produce this revolutionary car."

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