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Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., within the Renault-Nissan Alliance, has announced together with the governments of the United Kingdom and Portugal their plans to build two plants for the production of its advanced lithium-ion batteries in Europe. In doing so, the Renault-Nissan Alliance marks the first significant step towards producing batteries for its Zero Emission Mobility Program in Europe.
The two governments have offered to extend financial assistance and other support to ensure that Nissan locates the proposed plants within their respective countries. This recognizes the significant contribution that the plants are likely to make to the long term health of both the national and regional economies by being central to the growth of the automotive and associated industries, boosting jobs and the skills sector and pioneering the manufacture and sale of zero emission vehicles in Europe.
After finalizing details and concluding discussions with Her Majesty’s Government, the UK site will be located in Sunderland where Nissan already has an existing manufacturing facility. The UK site will be the Nissan European Mother Site for Battery production and the centerpiece of the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area in the North East of England.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:
“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.
“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.
“Sunderland could now be a strong contender to produce electric vehicles for Nissan in Europe, and we will continue to work with Nissan to ensure this happens.”
As part of the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area, Government intends to establish a new training centre, specialising in low carbon automotive technologies; a technology park and an open access test track for low carbon vehicles.
UK Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said:
“The North East has distinguished itself as the first specialised region for ultra-low carbon vehicles. This is good news not just for the North East, but for the whole of the UK, helping to attract foreign investment and securing UK’s place as a global leader in high-tech manufacturing and automotive industries.
“The collaboration between local businesses, universities and colleges will create a hub of expertise to boost innovation and accelerate business growth in this important area of ‘green’ industry.” Nissan Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Europe, Trevor Mann said: “In March Nissan and regional development agency One North East signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing both partners to explore fully the North East’s potential to spearhead the UK’s drive towards zero emission mobility.
“Since then, a great deal of work has been going on at both the local and national level to promote and facilitate the introduction of electric vehicles within the region. Today’s announcement potentially marks another important milestone in establishing low carbon transport as a viable and attractive alternative across the North East and beyond, and reinforces Nissan’s commitment to lead the world in the mass marketing of zero emission vehicles.”
Last June 29th the Portuguese Government signed an agreement with 25 cities and key motorways and parking players aiming the implementation of a recharging network that will secure a full coverage of the country. Additionally it was presented the prototype of those recharging stations. This advanced station has been developed by a Portuguese consortium in collaboration with Nissan. Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Sócrates said:
“Portugal is one of the first countries in the world to have a national wide charging network for Electric Vehicles, named Mobi-E. 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.
Nissan’s investment in a new battery plant of $A437 million, creating 200 jobs, is very important in terms of job creation, technology, and exports. Besides that, it is a crucial step to transform Portugal into Europe’s EV Eco-Valley. “
“The zero-emission mobility program is a priority for the company,” said Eric Nicolas, senior vice president, Administration and Finance, Nissan in Europe. “At Nissan, as we manage through this global crisis, we continue to prepare for the major evolutions that are occurring in our industry. We are not compromising our efforts to mass-market the electric car. And today, we have taken key step to making zero-emissions a reality.”
The two plants are scheduled to supply the advanced lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles to be produced by the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The projected annual capacity for each plant is 60,000 units. Furthermore, the Renault-Nissan Alliance continues its discussion with other governments in Europe to identify other battery plant locations to meet volume requirements.
Renault-Nissan is committed to being a leader in zero-emissions mobility. It will offer electric vehicles in the United States and Japan beginning in 2010 ahead of mass marketing to consumers in 2012 globally.
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