Nissan, the UK’s largest car manufacturer, is expected to launch two new electric car models April

Nissan, the UK’s largest car manufacturer, is expected to launch two new electric car models  April

Nissan is expected to announce it will build two new electric models in Sunderland, securing the future of the UK’s largest car manufacturer.

The Japanese automaker will build replacements for its Qashqai and Juke crossovers, according to Sky, which first reported the news.

Investment in the plant could reach £1 billion, with significant government support expected.

It comes after Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced £2bn government support on Wednesday for investments in zero-emission technology in the UK car sector. Hunt said in his fall statement that this measure was “warmly welcomed by Nissan and Toyota,” both of which have large factories in Britain.

This investment will be welcomed by the UK car industry, as well as the plant’s 6,000 workers. It follows recent investment announcements from India’s Tata, which will build a £4bn battery factory to supply Jaguar and Land Rover, and BMW, which is spending £600m to upgrade its factory to produce small electric cars.

The Sunderland plant is Britain’s largest car factory, capable of producing 600,000 cars a year at maximum capacity. However, its production has been noticeably lower in recent years as the car industry has struggled with Brexit uncertainty, followed by the coronavirus pandemic and consequent supply chain problems.

The factory manufactures gasoline models of Qashqai and Juke, in addition to the electric Nissan Leaf. It receives the batteries from a nearby factory, operated by the Chinese company AESC, which it previously owned.

The AESC plant can produce about 2 gigawatt hours (GWh) of batteries per year, but it is building much larger facilities that aim to produce 9 GWh by 2024, and eventually 38 GWh, enough to make nearly 600,000 Car battery annually.

Nissan had already announced in 2021 that Sunderland would be an electric vehicle hub, but has not yet specified which models it will build there.

The LEAF was for a time one of the world’s leading electric cars, having begun production in Sunderland in 2010. However, Nissan did not build on its early progress, and was overtaken by other carmakers in the transition to electric technology.

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However, Nissan has pledged to switch to fully electric cars in Europe by 2030, and has said it will press ahead with the switch in the UK despite Rishi Sunak’s decision in September to push forward the ban on petrol and diesel cars by 2035.

A Nissan spokesman said: “We do not comment on rumors and speculation.”

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