Japanese automotive giant Nissan, a trailblazer in the mass production of electric vehicles (EVs) with the launch of the Leaf over a decade ago, has disclosed its intentions to introduce a next-generation Leaf along with two additional electric vehicle models. This strategic move is part of a substantial multi-billion investment in the United Kingdom.
The two forthcoming fully electric models include a mid-sized electric SUV, an all-electric Nissan Qashqai, and a slightly smaller model, the electric Nissan Juke.
Nissan is set to inject £3 billion ($A5.7 billion) into establishing three new factories at its EV36Zero hub in Sunderland. The facility will not only produce the new electric models but also manufacture batteries and the necessary infrastructure. This investment represents one of the most significant EV initiatives in the country to date. The Sunderland hub operates on a renewables micro-grid powered by locally produced wind and solar energy, including a newly constructed 20MW solar plant.
The immensely popular Qashqai SUV, the UK's best-selling car in 2022, constituting one in every five cars built in the country, and the smaller Juke, with over one million cars on the road, will undergo electrification as part of this substantial investment.
The three electric initiatives are anchored around concept models, with two recently unveiled at the Japan Mobility Show. These include the Hyper Urban Concept, a crossover EV forming the basis of the electric Qashqai; the Hyper Punk Concept, shaping the electric Juke; and the Chill-Out Concept, revealed in 2021, forming the basis of the revamped Leaf.
Details such as names, specifications, and launch dates for the three models will be disclosed in due course.
This announcement follows Nissan's recent confirmation that all new cars in Europe will be fully electric, with the expectation that its entire passenger car lineup in Europe will be 100% electric by 2030.
Nissan's President and CEO, Makoto Uchida, emphasized the company's commitment to carbon neutrality, stating, “Exciting, electric vehicles are at the heart of our plans to achieve carbon neutrality. With electric versions of our core European models on the way, we are accelerating towards a new era for Nissan, for the industry, and for our customers.”
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed confidence in Nissan's investment, stating, “This venture will no doubt secure Sunderland's future as the UK's Silicon Valley for electric vehicle innovation and manufacturing.”