Nissan brings electric vehicle production to the UK

A forthcoming electric vehicle is to be manufactured in the UK at a plant in Sunderland.

Nissan announced its intention for the site to start making the Leaf in early 2013, when some 50,000 units will begin to roll off the production line.

The Leaf is completely electric and emits zero carbon emissions. It is the first in a range of such vehicles Nissan intends to create.

In addition, a new advanced lithium-ion battery plant will begin construction in April of this year, also in Sunderland. It will be capable of producing 60,000 units annually, providing batteries for both Nissan and Renault.

Although the Leaf will not go on sale in the UK until after 2013, its commercial launch in Japan is set for late 2010.

"The world is at the dawn of a new era in automotive transport. Nissan Leaf [is] a five-seater hatchback that offers the same space, practicality and performance of a similar car in its class – minus the tailpipe emissions," said Nissan senior vice-president Andy Palmer.

"Thanks to the UK’s firm commitment to a low-carbon future in terms of infrastructure, customer incentives and educational programmes, Nissan Leaf will be built at Sunderland, making the UK the third country in the world to produce this revolutionary car."

In a single charge, the vehicle will be able to travel for 100 miles on average in everyday driving conditions. Its top speed is "up to" 90 mph and the acceleration is said to be similar to that of a V6 engine.

Nissan expects the battery life to be about five years and those who want to buy one of the Leaf cars will have their home assessed to ensure charging is feasible. A weatherproof charging station will also be made available, the manufacturer said.

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