Construction of the Renault-Nissan Alliance's first European plant, which will supply advanced lithium-ion batteries, has begun earlier this week in Sunderland, UK.
The groundbreaking ceremony at Nissan's Sunderland car plant to signify the start of the £210-million project was led by Toshiyuki Shiga, chief operating officer of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
By early 2102, the 25,000 sq.m. facility will be operational and will get an initial annual production capacity of 60,000 units. This facility is intended to supply batteries for both Nissan and Renault electric vehicles (EVs).
About 200 new Nissan jobs will be created. Meanwhile, 600 more will be employed across the UK supply chain. It was previously announced that the alliance will build a second battery facility in Cacia, Portugal.
It also revealed plans to build batteries at Renault's Flins plant in France. Just last month, Nissan confirmed that Sunderland will be producing the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle, the world's first affordable mass-produced zero-emission vehicle.
The launching of the Nissan LEAF is set for 2013 on the plant's Number 2 production line.
It will be produced alongside the JUKE compact crossover car, which will start production in August 2010. Later this year, Nissan's Oppama Plant in Japan will be the first plant globally to begin producing LEAF.
The car's UK sales launch has also been set in early 2011. Starting in late 2012, Nissan's Smyrna plant in the USA will produce the Nissan LEAF as well as the advanced lithium-ion batteries.
Nissan will continue to invest in a portfolio of low-emission technologies (called PureDrive), including clean diesels, efficient internal-combustion engines and hybrids.