Sunderland Ramps Up as New Nissan Leaf Nears Production

Sunderland Ramps Up as New Nissan Leaf Nears Production


Nissan’s UK factory in Sunderland is gearing up to start production of the next-generation Nissan Leaf from March next year. This comes as part of a significant £2 billion transformation of the Sunderland plant. The new Leaf, which will transition from a hatchback to a crossover as previewed by the 2021 Chill Out concept, will be built alongside the Juke and Qashqai, as well as their upcoming all-electric successors.


Key Developments in Nissan Leaf Production

  • New Production Capabilities: The current generation of the Leaf ended production in March. Preparations are already underway to incorporate a new battery installation station into the production line.
  • Production Trials: Six-month production trials are set to begin in August. If all goes smoothly, the line will be ready to take its first Leaf models as early as March 2025, with a potential unveiling towards the end of this year.
  • Significant Investment: Nissan is investing heavily in the Sunderland factory, which recently began producing the facelifted Qashqai. However, regional manufacturing boss Alan Johnson acknowledges challenges such as supply chain optimization, lack of solid policies, and high energy costs.

Challenges and Commitments

Despite the obstacles, Nissan is committed to maintaining production in the UK. Alan Johnson highlighted the importance of the factory’s assets, including both facilities and workforce expertise, stating: «We’ve got an asset here: that’s not just facilities, it’s also the people. It’s in our interest to get the best out of what we have.»

The EV36Zero Project

The transformation of the Sunderland site, dubbed EV36Zero, is already underway. Engineering manager Guy Reid described this as the beginning of a new era for the plant, necessitating significant changes to adapt a line that has been building internal combustion engine (ICE) cars for over 30 years. Training staff for electric vehicle (EV) production and increasing the workforce to handle a projected doubling of output in the coming years are key investment areas.

Conclusion

The ramp-up to Nissan Leaf production marks an exciting period for Nissan in Sunderland. As the Nissan Leaf nears production, the automotive industry is keenly watching how these developments will shape the future of electric vehicles. Stay tuned for more updates on this groundbreaking transition and the innovations it promises to bring.

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