UK Markets closed

Nissan turns to Sunderland sunshine to power electric car factory

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • NSANY
Nissan builds the electric Leaf at the Sunderland factory
Nissan builds the electric Leaf at the Sunderland factory

Nissan is planning a solar farm at its Sunderland plant big enough to power production of its battery-driven Leaf cars destined for sale in Europe.

The plan is part of the Japanese carmaker's £13bn decarbonisation push and will double the amount of green power it produces onsite.

Construction of the 20 megawatt array is scheduled to be completed by May. It will mean a fifth of the plant’s overall electricity needs will be met by its own renewable sources, including wind and a smaller, existing solar site.

Nissan makes the electric Leaf and the hybrid Qashqai in Sunderland as well as the petrol and diesel-powered Juke. The new solar capacity is expected to be sufficient to power the Leaf production line as it accelerates to meet burgeoning consumer demand for electric cars.

Nissan expects three-quarters of its European sales to be electric by 2026, followed by Japan at 55pc.

There are already plans to build a gigafactory nearby to supply electric batteries for new models. Nissan will now add a battery storage system using recycled batteries, which will be used to balance supply to the grid, evening out power beyond daylight hours.

Nissan's Sunderland plant
Nissan's Sunderland plant

Some 15 new electric models are planned by 2030. Electric vehicles are scheduled to account for half Nissan's global output by then as it drives towards carbon neutrality by 2050.

Ashwani Gupta, Nissan chief operating officer, has said Sunderland would be at the forefront of its plans.

The solar farm extends a busy year of investment for Nissan’s Sunderland plant, which it once suggested was threatened by Brexit.

In the summer it signed the £1bn deal to build Britain's first electric car battery gigafactory, partnering with Chinese battery maker Envision.

The new factory will produce enough batteries for 100,000 cars when it starts operating in three years’ time as part of a plan that will create 1,650 jobs.

Nissan aims to cut the cost of making batteries by almost two thirds by 2028 as it eliminates cobalt from the process. The metal is expensive, difficult to obtain and tainted by human rights concerns as much of it is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The company plans a new system of recycling old batteries and refurbishing them where possible. It will hire 3,000 workers internationally to press ahead with the technology.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting