Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., within the Renault-Nissan Alliance, announced today that it will be building two European plants to manufacture its advanced lithium-ion batteries – each plant manufacturing a projected annual capacity of 60,000 units. With agreements between Nissan and Portugal and the United Kingdoms, the Renault-Nissan Alliance makes significant steps towards producing batteries for its European Zero Emission Mobility Program.
Nissan will receive financial assistance from both countries’ respective governments, as well as other forms of support, in order to ensure that the plants will be located within the countries. The hope is that the two plants will have both immediate and long-term effects on the health of both national and regional economies by boosting jobs, pioneering the manufacture and sale of zero emission vehicles in Europe and contributing to the automotive industry.
“Nissan’s investment in a new battery plant and its hope to start producing electric vehicles here in Sunderland is great news for the local economy, creating up to 350 direct jobs and creating and safeguarding hundreds more in the associated supply chain,” said UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. “This investment is also hugely significant as we embark on Building Britain’s Future, our plan for recovery and beyond powered by low carbon, high technology industries, products and services.
The plant brings more than just the immediate jobs, too. With the addition of the Nissan plant, Sunderland can become one of the contenders for electric vehicle (EV) production in Europe. “We will continue to work with Nissan to ensure this happens,” said Brown.
“The North East has distinguished itself as the first specialised region for ultra-low carbon vehicles,” said UK Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, who also used Martha Stewart’s term, calling the agreement with Nissan a “good thing.” He expects that the plant will encourage local colleges and universities to collaborate with businesses in order to create a “hub of expertise,” boost innovation and accelerate business growth in area of green industry.
While Portugal has yet to decide on a location for the Nissan plant, which will immediately create 200 jobs, the government has set lofty goals in order to create a convenient EV infrastructure and transform Portugal into Europe’s EV Eco-Valley. Over the next two years, the Portuguese government will install 1,300 EV charging stations across the country.
“Portugal is one of the first countries in the world to have a national wide charging network for Electric Vehicles,” said Prime Minister Jose Sócrates. “This leadership has only been possible thanks to Portugal’s decisive move towards renewable energies – 43% of electricity consumed is produced from clean energies. The introduction of EV will allow the reduction of CO2 emissions and fossil fuel energy dependence on the exterior.”
These two plants mark the first of what Nissan hopes is many plants across Europe. Nissan has already announced that they will sell electric cars in the U.S. by 2010.
Photo Credit: Jim B L via flickr under Creative Commons License