SMMT calls for more commitments like Nissan’s EV36Zero by the end of the decade, including plan for charging infrastructure
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has welcomed the plans for Nissan’s £1 billion flagship electric vehicle manufacturing hub - EV36Zero - but said more such commitments are necessary by the end of the decade, as well as a plan for EV charging infrastructure.
Centred around the record-breaking plant in Sunderland, UK, Nissan EV36Zero - described as a ’world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem - 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.
Nissan president and chief executive officer, Makoto Uchida said: “This project comes as part of Nissan’s pioneering efforts to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the entire lifecycle of our products. Our comprehensive approach includes not only the development and production of EVs, but also the use of on-board batteries as energy storage and their reuse for secondary purposes.
“Our announcement today comes out of lengthy discussions held within our teams, and will greatly accelerate our efforts in Europe to achieve carbon neutrality. The experience and know-how gained through the project announced today will be shared globally, enhancing Nissan’s global competitiveness.
“Nissan will continue to leverage its strengths in electrification to become a company that continues to provide value to its customers and society.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Nissan’s announcement to build its new-generation all-electric vehicle in Sunderland, alongside a new gigafactory from Envision-AESC, is a major vote of confidence in the UK and our highly-skilled workers in the North East.
“Building on over 30 years of history in the area, this is a pivotal moment in our electric vehicle revolution and securing its future for decades to come.
“Commitments like these exemplify our ability to create hundreds of green jobs and boost British industry, whilst also allowing people to travel in an affordable and sustainable way so we can eliminate our contributions to climate change.”
Unveiling Nissan EV36Zero at the Sunderland Plant today, Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer, Ashwani Gupta, said: “This is a landmark day for Nissan, our partners, the UK and the automotive industry as a whole. Nissan EV36Zero will transform the idea of what is possible for our industry and set a roadmap for the future for all.
“We reached a new frontier with the Nissan LEAF, the world’s first mass-market all-electric vehicle. Now, with our partners, Nissan will pioneer the next phase of the automotive industry as we accelerate towards full electrification and carbon neutrality.”
UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This is a huge step forward in our ambition to put the UK at the front of the global electric vehicle race, and further proof, if any was needed, that the UK remains one of the most competitive locations in the world for automotive manufacturing.
“I am extremely proud that Nissan has not only reaffirmed its belief in Britain, but is doubling down on its long-standing commitment to our country. The cars made in this plant, using batteries made just down the road at the UK’s first at scale gigafactory, will have a huge role to play as we transition away from petrol and diesel cars and kick-start a domestic electric vehicle manufacturing base.”
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.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Today’s announcement of new investment into battery production in Sunderland is great news for the sector, the region and all those employed locally. It also demonstrates the UK automotive industry’s commitment to net zero and that the transition to these new electrified vehicles can be ’made In Britain’.
”If we are to build one million electric vehicles by 2030, however, we need more such commitments, with at least 60 GWh of gigafactory capacity in this country by the end of the decade. The future competitiveness of our industry depends on securing these investments but also wider support for manufacturing. We need a Build Back Better Fund to help manufacturing transformation, as well as a plan for charging infrastructure that will assure consumers to make the switch to these vehicles.”