Nissan announced today a massive $1.4 billion (£1.12bn) investment to develop two new all-electric models at its manufacturing plant in Sunderland, UK. The funding will expand Nissan’s EV production capacity and signals its growing ambitions in the zero-emissions vehicle market.
The new electric crossover models will be inspired by Nissan’s recent concept cars unveiled at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, which include the Nissan Hyper Urban, defined by its sleek and modern aesthetic, and the Nissan Hyper Punk, a dynamic compact crossover with bold, angular bodywork.
Production Plans and Further Details About the Investment
The $1.4 billion allotted to this expansion will finance research and development, facility upgrades, manufacturing improvements, worker training programs, and tooling modifications across Nissan’s UK supply chain.
Combined with the existing $430 million invested under Nissan’s EV36Zero project for a separate forthcoming EV model, the total funding committed to the Sunderland site is climbing to around $1.8 billion.
Moreover, Nissan also revealed plans for a third electric vehicle that is currently being manufactured at the factory – an all-new generation of its pioneering LEAF hatchback. This means that the successors of Nissan’s popular Qashqai, Juke, and Leaf models will all originate from the Sunderland plant.
Back in 2021 when the EV36Zero project was unveiled, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Japanese automaker, Makoto Uchida, highlighted that the initiative was part of an ongoing push toward achieving carbon neutrality.
The new investment will largely be facilitated through the UK’s new Investment Zones initiative, with Nissan’s North East hub focused specifically on advancing green automotive technology.
UK Prime Minister Seeks to Keep Growing the Country’s Auto Industry
The announcement aligns with Nissan’s recent commitment to make all new car sales in Europe fully electric by 2030. By localizing future EV development and production capabilities in the UK, the company aims to accelerate its own electrified transformation.
The project will additionally bolster the UK’s domestic EV manufacturing ecosystem and will provide support for up to 7,000 workers within the Sunderland compound and over 30,000 more across Nissan’s supply chain.
Summarizing the positive implications, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak remarked: “Nissan’s investment is a massive vote of confidence in the UK’s automotive industry, which already contributes a massive £71 billion a year to our economy. This venture will no doubt secure Sunderland’s future as the UK’s Silicon Valley for electric vehicle innovation and manufacturing.”
He added: “Making the UK the best place to do business is at the heart of our economic plan. We will continue to back businesses like Nissan to expand and grow their roots in the UK every step of the way as we make the right long term decisions for a brighter future.”
On the global stage, Nissan’s decision to double down on its EV investments within the UK will help the company to better compete with other automakers that are rapidly pursuing electrification. Key rivals, including Toyota and Honda, have already outlined ambitious electric roadmaps to dominate Europe’s upcoming zero-emissions vehicle market.
Toyota recently went all-in on its electrification strategy in the United States after it announced that it will only manufacture hybrid-only versions of its most popular model in the country, the Camry, by 2025.
Nissan executives emphasized the productive partnerships with national and local UK authorities in rallying behind their British facilities.
Nissan President Makoto Uchida summarized: “The EV36Zero project puts our Sunderland plant, Britain’s biggest ever car factory, at the heart of our future vision. It means our UK team will be designing, engineering and manufacturing the vehicles of the future, driving us towards an all-electric future for Nissan in Europe.”
Technical Details on the New EVs Could be Revealed Within the Next Few Months
Specifications for the two incoming electric crossovers are yet to be confirmed by Nissan. However, according to the Hyper Urban and Hyper Punk concept vehicles displayed in Tokyo, buyers can expect stylish and performance-focused models packing the latest battery and automated driving technologies.
Both cars feature aerodynamic profiles complimenting roomy and minimalist interiors. The EVs are also built on Nissan’s advanced CMF-EV platform, delivering lightning-quick acceleration via potent front and all-wheel drive powertrain configurations.
Additionally, next-gen electric mobility services and smart cockpit personalization should further heighten the overall driving experience. Nissan aims to reveal full details on the official production variants, including naming, pricing, and launch timing over the coming months.