Nissan has announced that Sunderland will be the third Nissan facility to produce the electric Nissan Leaf (EV). Production begins 2013.
Carlos Ghosn – head of Nissan – is convinced that electric cars will account for 10% of the market by 2020. Which is a huge leap from where they are now. We’re not convinced he’s right, although if you include what by then should be viable hydrogen fuel cell cars then he may be getting close.
But whether Carlos Ghosn is right or not, Nissan are pushing forward with their electric car plans – first up the Nissan LEAF was revealed, with three more EVs from Nissan to come. The Nissan LEAF is a mid-sized family hatchback (think Ford Focus or VW Golf) with a lithium ion, battery-powered chassis. The LEAF will have a range of around 100 miles from an 8 hour charge at home, but an 80% charge can be achieved in 15 minutes from a recharging station.
We learn today that in addition to producing batteries for Nissan’s electric car programme – which starts next month – Nissan’s Sunderland plant will become the third Nissan plan globally – after Japan and the USA – to produce the LEAF, starting in 2013.
The target is to produce 50,000 Nissan LEAFs a year in Sunderland, a big vote of confidence in the Sunderland workforce and safeguarding the more than 4,000 jobs at the plant. Nissan’s plans were no doubt influenced not just by the abilities of its Sunderland workforce, but by the money thrown at the project by the UK Government and the European Investment Bank – a total close to £250 million.
We don’t really buy the ‘Zero Emissions’ hype surrounding electric cars, nor see them as a viable transport option outside congested urban areas. But if we’re going to have them then the LEAF seems well conceived and will be well bolted together. But it won’t be cheap. We estimated that a monthly lease – including batteries – could easily run at around £450. About the same as a nice Jaguar 3.0 XF S.
Of course, we’d take the Nissan LEAF. Got to think of the fluffy bunnies.
Nissan LEAF EV Video
Nissan LEAF Photo Gallery