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Nissan may announce Sunderland gigafactory this week in major commitment to UK

Written by on 28 June 2021

Japanese car giant Nissan could announce plans for a battery gigafactory in the UK as soon as this week, Sky News understands.

City editor Mark Kleinman said the carmaker’s electric vehicle strategy, tipped to include production of its Qashqai and Juke models at Sunderland, was also expected to confirm the construction of a battery gigafactory.

There have been weeks of media speculation over the scale of the company’s investment – one that would have been seen as impossible until this year when Nissan confirmed its backing for the UK’s Brexit deal with the European Union.

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‘Brexit for Nissan is positive’

It declared in January that the trading arrangements gave it a “competitive advantage” having previously refused to commit new money to Sunderland until the site’s viability had been secured.

Japanese media firm Nikkei reported last month that Nissan would partner with China-based battery maker Envision to build new battery plants for electric vehicles at sites in Japan and the United Kingdom.

The company has consistently refused to comment on the plans but had previously indicated that batteries for its electric Leaf model would be made in Sunderland.

It is unclear how many jobs would be created through the construction of a separate battery gigafactory in the city.

The prospect of such a plant builds on plans, first revealed last year, for a gigaplant at Blyth in Northumberland.

An aerial view of how the Blyth site could look. Pic: Britishvolt Image: An aerial view of how the Blyth site could look. Pic: Britishvolt

BritishVolt said it hoped to be the first company to complete such a production facility in the UK as carmakers eye a 2030 deadline for the government’s climate-driven ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel models.

The company has bought the site of the former Blyth coal-fired power station and hopes to create up to 3,000 jobs.