Lithium-ion battery production at Nissan Sunderland Plant

Lithium-ion battery production at Nissan Sunderland Plant

Nissan announced that its huge Sunderland plant in the UK will also produce future generation electric vehicle batteries.

Nissan produces various models in Sunderland, including the LEAF, and lithium-ion batteries (cells, modules and packs).

Something had earlier been hanging in the air as Sunderland was the only Nissan battery facility that didn't launch new lithium-ion cell production for 30 kWh packs found in the high range versions of the 2016 LEAF today (Sunderland still manufactures model base/older tech 24 kWh packs).

Today, those 30 kWh cells are imported from Japan, while the U.S. also established an additional production line for "30 kWh cells" in Smyrna, TN.

The lack of new "30 kWh" production had left many to wonder if Euro production of the next generation cells would ultimately be imported from another Nissan facility (Japan or the US), or if this signaled where a recent collaboration with LG Chemical might see the Korean battery maker supplying cells for Europe.  That apparently will not be the case, or the facility will at least share production duties.

Our understanding of the situation is that Sunderland will skip this "30 kWh" stage entirely, and introduce something new - mostly likely the next-generation batteries for the LEAF (such as the 60 kWh battery we seen teased in Nissan's IDS Concept) and other future plug-ins.

High Density Module Stack From Nissan's New 60 kWh Battery

High Density Module Stack From Nissan's New 60 kWh Battery

"Nissan today announced a vote of confidence in European manufacturing by awarding production of future generation electric vehicle (EV) batteries to the company’s manufacturing facility in Sunderland, UK.

Representing a £26.5m investment, this commitment will safeguard 300 highly-skilled jobs in manufacturing, maintenance and engineering at Nissan’s advanced lithium-ion battery plant in Sunderland, the largest of its type in Europe.

The facility is one of three Nissan battery production sites globally and will provide battery modules for the all-electric Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 electric van, which is manufactured at Nissan’s facility in Barcelona, Spain.

Already the global leaders in electric vehicles with over 200,000 Nissan LEAFs on the road worldwide covering a total of two billion electric miles, today’s announcement is another stake in the ground as Nissan reaffirms its commitment to a 100 percent electric future. In 2015 alone, Nissan sold 43,651 LEAFs worldwide, 15,630 of which were in Europe."

Nissan IDS concept - 60 kWh battery (that we expect will also power the next generation LEAF in 2017)

Nissan IDS concept - 60 kWh battery (that we expect will also power the next generation LEAF in 2017)

Nissan IDS Concept

Nissan IDS Concept

Paul Willcox, Chairman, Nissan Europe, said:

“The Nissan LEAF has transformed the performance and perception of EVs and made Nissan the undisputed leader in EV technology. Today’s announcement reflects Nissan’s intention to remain EV leaders for many years to come, with our European operations at the heart of our future innovations.”

“Nissan has achieved second-to-none quality levels since launching battery manufacturing in Sunderland, and securing this critical future production is a testament to our success. This news coincides with the launch of the 250km range Nissan LEAF. Now in its third generation, the LEAF continues to go from strength to strength as we realize our electric motoring vision.”

Full press release below:

Nissan announces future generation electric vehicle batteries for UK production

New project secures EV battery innovations for the UK

Global leader Nissan poised to strengthen position in EV technology

Announcement heralds 30th anniversary of Nissan Sunderland Plant

Sunderland, UK, January 21st, 2016: Nissan has today announced its commitment to produce a future generation of electric vehicle (EV) batteries at its flagship manufacturing base in Sunderland, UK.

Representing a £26.5m investment in the UK, this commitment will safeguard 300 highly-skilled jobs in manufacturing, maintenance and engineering at Nissan’s advanced lithium-ion battery plant in Sunderland, the largest of its type in Europe.

The announcement comes at the beginning of a landmark year in which Nissan will celebrate the 30th anniversary year of its Sunderland factory – now the largest plant in the history of the UK car industry.

Already the global leaders in electric vehicles, and with a new 155-mile (250km) range Nissan LEAF on sale across Europe this month, this long-term commitment signals Nissan’s bold vision for the future of zero-emission motoring.

Paul Willcox, Chairman, Nissan Europe, said: “With 200,000 customers around the world already, the Nissan LEAF has transformed the performance and perception of EVs and made Nissan the undisputed leader in EV technology.

“Today’s announcement reflects Nissan’s intention to remain EV leaders for many years to come, with our UK operations at the heart of our future innovations.”

Since EV production began in Sunderland in 2013, a £420m investment, the Battery Plant and Nissan LEAF production have supported more than 2,000 jobs at Nissan and in its UK supply chain.

Paving the way for future generation batteries will be a groundbreaking new £19.4m project that will team Nissan with new academic and technology partners in the UK, supported with a £9.7m grant from the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

The other consortium members are Hyperdrive Innovation, Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick, Newcastle University and Zero Carbon Futures, who will work together on key areas of battery development covering pilot projects, product diversification and process improvement.

UK Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This investment from Nissan is a further vote of confidence in our thriving automotive sector.

“The UK is fast becoming a world leader in low carbon automotive technology and the government is backing the industry. We committed an extra £225million funding to the Advanced Propulsion Centre in the Autumn Statement.

“This Nissan project, which is benefiting from that funding, shows what can be achieved.”

Willcox added: “I congratulate all my colleagues in the UK on securing this future technology, which is just reward for the second-to-none quality levels they have achieved since launching battery manufacturing in Sunderland, which remains the biggest UK car plant of all time.”

Nissan’s UK battery plant is one of three Nissan battery production sites globally, also providing battery modules for Nissan’s all-electric van, the e-NV200, which is manufactured in the company’s plant in Barcelona, Spain.