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November 9, 2011

European Investment Bank to provide EUR 220m to Nissan for production of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF and advanced lithium-ion batteries in Sunderland

The European Investment Bank has agreed to support production of Nissan’s first electric car to be built in Europe and the company’s first European production of electric vehicle batteries. Agreement for EUR 220 m funding from the European Union’s long-term lending institution was signed in Sunderland by Trevor Mann, Nissan Europe Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, and Simon Brooks, European Investment Bank Vice President for the United Kingdom.

European Investment Bank funding will support the integration of new machinery and tooling for production of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF, the world’s first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle. The Nissan LEAF, the reigning European Car of the Year, will go into production in Sunderland in 2013 with an initial production capacity of around 50,000 vehicles a year.

This funding is also supporting construction of the company’s new European Mother Plant for the production of lithium-ion electric vehicle battery cells at Sunderland Plant. Together the battery and LEAF projects represent a £420m (EUR 468.2m) investment by Nissan, and are expected to maintain about 2,250 jobs at Nissan and across the UK supply chain. The investment is also supported by a £20.7m (EUR 23.1m) Grant for Business Investment (GBI) from the UK Government.

Simon Brooks, European Investment Bank Vice President for the UK, said “New Nissan investment to produce the Nissan LEAF model demonstrates the commercial emergence of electric vehicles from research intensive concept cars. The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting competitive electric vehicle and battery technology that can contribute to improving air quality and tackling climate change.”

Trevor Mann, Nissan Europe Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, said: “The Nissan LEAF has already made history as the world’s first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and we are all very excited about battery and LEAF production beginning at Sunderland for our European market.

“We are extremely grateful for this support from the European Investment Bank, who share our vision and commitment for the roll-out of zero-emission transport”.

Production of electric batteries at Nissan Sunderland Plant is planned for early 2012. This project will both safeguard local employment in advanced engineering and create new jobs for the battery plant. A comprehensive charging network is currently under development in the UK. North East England alone will have over 1,000 charge points by 2013, including quick chargers capable of refuelling a Nissan LEAF from when the empty warning light switches onto an 80% charge in 30 minutes. Nissan’s network of EV dealers – currently 32 sites across the UK – will all be equipped with a quick charger.

Reduction of carbon emissions linked to transport is a key objective of European Investment Bank lending to tackle climate change. Support for development of electric vehicle technology and battery research will help improve specialist skills and understanding of the sector. The European Investment Bank has funded electric vehicle development with a number of European manufacturers, alongside financing expansion of dedicated networks and charging stations across Europe.

Deliveries of Nissan LEAF have already begun in the UK, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, France, Spain, Switzerland and Portugal. Order books have also opened in Belgium Norway, Sweden and Denmark with customers in those markets expected to start receiving their cars in the New Year.

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Notes for Editors

  • The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union created by the Treaty of Rome in 1958. Its task is to contribute towards the integration and balanced development as well as the economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States by making long-term finance available for sound investment.   Besides supporting projects in the EU, the EIB’s main lending priorities include financing investments in future Member States and EU partner countries.

  • The European Investment Bank is one the largest multilateral financing institutions, lending well over EUR 70 billion in 2010, both within the EU Member States and in third countries. The Bank operates in keeping with banking practice and in collaboration with the wider banking community.

  • Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 12,500 staff across locally-based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced more than 528,000 vehicles including mini-MPVs, award-winning crossovers, SUVs and commercial vehicles.

  • A pioneer in zero-emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades, including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year award and 2011 World Car of the Year.

  • Nissan now offers 24 diverse and innovative products for sale in Europe today, and is positioned to become the number one Asian brand in Europe.

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