Nissan Leaf Plant In UK Gets Boost

The Leaf will be the first of Nissan’s electric cars to be produced in Europe, thanks to recently announced support from the European Investment Bank. Under the agreement, €220 million ($296 million) in financing will be provided by the bank to support production of the electric vehicle.

The Leaf, which won the 2011 European Car of the Year award, will go into production in Sunderland, England, in 2013 with an initial production capacity of around 50,000 vehicles a year. The new funding will also go toward construction of Nissan’s new European Mother Plant, which will be produce lithium-ion electric vehicle battery cells.

Nissan Leaf, Europe

image via European Investment Bank

The investments and new production facilities mean 2,250 jobs at Nissan and across the U.K. supply chain, the bank said. Production of electric batteries at Nissan Sunderland Plant is planned for early 2012. Deliveries of Nissan Leaf have already begun in the U.K., the Netherlands, Ireland, France, Spain, Switzerland and Portugal.

To aid electric vehicle drivers in the U.K., a new charging network is currently under development, the bank said. In North East England alone, more than  1,000 charge points are planned to be available by 2013. Those plans include quick chargers capable of refueling a Nissan Leaf from zero to 80 percent in just 30 minutes.

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Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.