David Cameron launches groundbreaking model at Nissan plant
Prime Minister David Cameron paid a visit to the Nissan plant in Sunderland to herald the beginning of a new era in car manufacture.
Rolling off the line at the Sunderland plant, the new Nissan Leaf model is the first mass-market electric car, running 100% on advanced lithium-ion batteries.
The new zero-emissions hatchback also incorporates more than 100 updates and its production in Sunderland will mean 500 new jobs for the region.
The batteries are also produced in Sunderland and the Battery Plant, together with Nissan Leaf production will also create over 1500 jobs across the UK.
The innovation comes at the end of four years of preparation and a £420m investment by Nissan.
Last year the record-breaking Sunderland plant became the first UK car factory to make more than half a million cars in one year.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Nissan's record breaking year last year is a success story for UK volume car manufacturing and demonstrates how our automotive industry is competing and thriving in the global race.
"I warmly welcome the production of the new electric LEAF model and battery plant at Sunderland.
“This £420 million investment, backed by Government, is supporting over 2,000 jobs in our automotive sector including more than 500 at Nissan in Sunderland, helping people in the area who want to work hard and get on.
"The Government has committed £400 million to make the UK a leading market for ultra low carbon vehicles.
“Nissan's announcement shows the confidence the company has in the skills-base and the business environment in the UK and that the UK is open for business."
There are currently 55,000 Nissan Leaf’s on the roads with production lines in Sunderland, Tennessee and Japan.
The Sunderland plant, currently employs 6,100 on-site staff and has produced more than 7 million units since its opening in 1986.
Nissan's Executive Vice President Andy Palmer said. "The announcement progresses Nissan's unwavering commitment to zero emissions motoring.
"The Nissan LEAF is our most technically advanced car yet and the launch of this new model, built along with its batteries in Sunderland, is a huge boost not only for the plant but for British manufacturing.
“We have been showing that you can operate a world-beating plant in the UK for almost 30 years and the construction of the Battery Plant is a vote of confidence in the country's ability to support high-technology manufacturing."
"We could not have reached this point without the support and commitment we have enjoyed from Governments across Europe, especially the British Government, who are backing the car industry on manufacturing and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
“I would also like to once again place on record our thanks to our many partners and their strong belief in zero-emissions motoring."