19 May 2023

Nissan Sunderland's New Battery Plant

Stellantis has come out and said that its commitment to electric vehicles made in the UK is under threat due to an EU edict. It is that all cars exported from the UK to the EU must eventually have 65% UK/EU content or face 10% duties. I won't even bother to talk about why such a rule was insisted upon by the EU. Politics I detest. 

What is of interest is that Nissan is pressing ahead with electric vehicle production in Sunderland, UK despite the machinations of politicians. How is Nissan achieving this? Through a battery plant built adjacent to the car assembly facility. Make no mistake, this is a substantial commitment by Nissan and its project partners. 

Nissan has made the Leaf model in the UK since late 2012 and making batteries for it at its Sunderland plant. This new initiative will take battery production capacity to another level. A new crossover electric model is to be produced at the plant with up to 100,000 units to be made per annum. 

It all comes down to the scale of production that allows for such investment. Stellantis' production in the UK isn't large and importing batteries is the way for them. JLR has been courted by Spain to acquire batteries from there but a plant to be located in Summerset, UK may now be the more likely outcome. Perhaps Stellantis could be involved with that. 

As for the Leaf, over 250,000 have now been built in the UK. The chart shows annual production volume and one would think that the push for electric cars in the UK and Europe would ensure continued healthy production for the Leaf as well as the future crossover model. Battery plants are needed and Nissan Sunderland has that box ticked.

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