Britain's car industry received a £2.65bn boost recently as plans to produce a new generation of eco-friendly engines were unveiled.
Nissan will be spending £420m on new production lines at its plant in Sunderland, after choosing Britain to manufacture the world's first mass-produced electric car for the European market. The production of the Nissan Leaf will begin in 2013 when around 50,000 vehicles a year will start rolling off the production line, making the UK the third country in the world to produce this revolutionary car.
The Leaf, a zero-emission, affordable family car offers the same space, practicality and performance of a similar car in its class – minus the emissions. The five-seater hatchback has a range of 160 km, can be rapid-charged to 80 percent of its battery capacity in 30 minutes, and travels at a top speed of more than 140 km/hr. The production will also safeguard an estimated 2,250 jobs in Sunderland and across Nissan’s UK supply chain.
Motorists will be offered subsidies of up to £5,000 to encourage them to buy electric or plug-in hybrid cars, part of the government’s £250m plan to promote low carbon transport over the next five years.
Currently there is a limited range of electric vehicles on the market, which range in price from about £8,000 to more than £80,000 for high-performance models. Sales have been held back by a number of factors, including a limited range of about 40 miles, long charge times, and only two seats. However, with the changes in store it is estimated that by 2020 about a quarter of all cars sold could be electric.
The Government has also launched a national 'Plugged in Places' scheme; a £30m initiative to install a charging network in up to 6 cities, however there has been debate as to whether this will be enough.
Find out why Sunderland ‘got the leaf’
Nissan Leaf Website