Nissan’s UK Sunderland Battery Plant Now Operational

JAN 20 2013 BY STAFF 11

In November a huge battery operation, capable of producing up to 200,000 LEAF-sized packs opened in Tennessee.  That plant now supplies the nearby full production assembly line, which began producing US-made LEAFs (some starting as low as $28,800) just this month.

Isn't This Toyota's Kind Of Press Image? (via TheSun)

Now comes word, that this same process is well underway in the UK, as sources inside Nissan say that battery production in the company’s Sunderland facility kicked into high gear last week and started producing their own locally sourced packs; a must for discounting their version of the 2013 model lineup.

The plant was first announced in July of 2009, and-Prime Minister Gordon Brown said at the time that Nissan had “proved by your productivity, by your excellence, by your quality that new investment should come here.  What Nissan is doing here today is creating a new facility for battery production, but also a centre of excellence for the whole of Europe. The rest of Europe will look to Nissan here in Sunderland for leadership”

Today, the plant currently employs about 200 people as it begins to ramp up to the estimated 60,000 packs a year Nissan estimates it might need for European supply.

Interestingly, the e-NV200, an all-electric van based on the LEAF that is to be built in Spain beginning in the spring, will not source its cells from Sunderland, but from US production in Smyrna.  This may be due to a heavier demand for cells from the Nissan-Renault alliance in Europe, and some gross-overestimating of plug-in sales in the US.

European LEAFs will enter production at Nissan’s Sunderland facility in the spring, and an official opening ceremony is expected at that time.  The plant is capable to produce as many as 50,000 LEAFs per year.

As soon as the production facility is running Nissan plans to begin an extensive marketing campaign on the 2013 LEAF, and is expected to offer a similar price cut to that of the US LEAF.

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11 Comments on "Nissan’s UK Sunderland Battery Plant Now Operational"

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George Bower

Boy. Talk about over capacity. This is it. Capacity for 60000 in UK and 200000 in US.

Jay Cole

…don’t forget about they popped up capacity in Japan as well to 65K, (=


And Renault contracted with LG for batteries …

First thing that happens to a new market is over-capacity 😉

Bill Howland

They could jump start the EV market by taking a page from Via Motors and making a Large vehicle or Luxury Vehicle either PHEV or totally EV. Not many people can afford a $600,000 Rolls EV but there are quite a few businesses who can afford $80K, especially if you can almost guarantee a 6 year payback period, plus much longer overall life.

In the luxury field, there would be quite a bit of sales to people who would naturally like EV’s, want the increased reliability, and reduced maintenance, but just want a BIG car or truck. Since this moment the market is WIDEOPEN, Nissan could have this market to itself. It certainly can make the large or multiple battery packs required.

shawn marshall

I don’t have any marketing expertise but if you cannot compete at the simplest implementation where do you gain advantage upscale? Honda, Toyota, Hyundai all made their way into market share from the low end.


@shawn marshall, I don’t understand your comment. Are you saying that Nissan can’t compete at the simplest implementation? And if so, of what? Auto manufacturing? BEV’s? Battery tech and manufacturing? Currently, they may have over capacity for battery manufacturing, but I believe they are the sales leader in BEV’s. Just out of curiosity, have you driven a Leaf?

As to the statement regarding Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, Nissan / Datsun also made it’s way into the US market on the low end…in the 1960’s with pickup trucks and the 510. Are you talking about the EV market? The three companies you mention are only marginally involved in the BEV market (or, in Hyundai’s case, not at all). The one offering from Toyota – Rav4 EV – is a Cali. compliance car with EV engineering by Tesla and has a MSRP @ $50,000…hardly the low end of even the EV market. And as far as gaining advantage upscale, that sounds exactly like Tesla’s current sales model.


I don’t understand why Tesla is the only BEV manufacturer willing to use 40kWh and greater battery packs. All other BEV battery packs are anemic. The lowest BEV range should be 140 miles.



the reason is weight.. Tesla is using lightweight laptop cells and can afford to use larger battery packs. Weight kills the official EPA numbers, it will take an expert hypermiler to get exceptional range out of a heavy electric.

Look at CODA, huge battery pack and poor range, because the chemistry they use and the 5200lb weight of the car.

Bill Howland

Yeah but hopefully Nissan is gaining expertise here.. Their Overconfident engineers already criticized the VOLT battery as being ‘INEFFICIENT’ but then had mucho egg on their face when none of the Nissans In Tucson worked.

One would hope in the not too distant future Nissan along with its partners would figure out how to get more kwh/kg. Tesla is buying off the shelf Matsushita stuff and getting 85 kwh for quite a while now.

Fooling around with dinky batteries is not necessarily the way to gain Big Battery Expertise. As far as Trucks and Luxury Cars go, they are supposed to be heavy, anyways.


What Matsushita cell is Tesla using?

Bill Howland

Not sure but its the same weight but double the capacity of the same 18650 (?) form factor that supposedly they’re using for the 40 kwh cars if they ever start making them.

Thats why I don’t understand why people say a big battery can’t be done, Tesla’s doing it, and they are just buying current stuff off the shelf. The Americanized name is Panasonic.