Paul McEldon, chief executive at the North East BIC, tested out the new Nissan LEAF, as part of an investigation into the region’s developing low carbon economy for the BIC’s Innovator publication.
Nissan’s decision to create Europe’s largest electric car facility in the region will protect 2,250 jobs at the Sunderland plant, Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) ltd, and the associated supply chain, with 50,000 cars to be built each year from 2013.
The electric car battery factory, which was announced to be built in Sunderland in 2009, is set to ignite a low-carbon industry in the North East, producing 60,000 lithium-ion batteries each year from 2012. A new generation of electric car mechanics is also to be trained at a new state-of the-art campus, recently opened on the NMUK site by Gateshead College.
Nissan has confirmed that the direction of environmental policy in Britain helped its decision to commit to the North East investment and a low-carbon future in terms of infrastructure, customer incentives and educational promotions. A network of 1,300 charging points are under development for the North East region, as well as dedicated electric vehicle parking spaces and priority road lanes.
To read the wider feature on Paul’s test drive and the region’s developing low carbon economy, pick up a copy of The Innovator at the North East BIC or visit www.ne-bic.co.uk.