Nissan is understood to be asking the UK government to provide tens of millions of pounds to build a new electric car battery gigafactory in Sunderland, north east England where it currently builds models such as the Leaf EV and the newly electrified redesigned Qashqai medium SUV.
The Guardian daily said the carmaker hopes to support the construction of a factory, which could produce up to 200,000 batteries a year, to be run by its Chinese battery supplier Envision AESC.
It would open in 2024 and would produce six gigawatt hours of battery capacity a year, far more than Nissan’s existing Sunderland plant, which has a capacity of 1.9GWh.
Tesla’s gigafactory in Nevada produces 35GWh according to the Guardian.
The paper noted Nissan had previously warned a Brexit trade deal which involved tariffs and border checks would jeopardise the future of the Sunderland plant, which employs 6,000 people.
Details of the proposed factory were first reported by the Financial Times, the Guardian added.
Nissan said: “Having established EV [electric vehicle] and battery production in the UK in 2013 for the Leaf, our Sunderland plant has played a pioneering role in developing the electric vehicle market.
“As previously announced, we will continue to electrify our lineup as part of our global journey towards carbon neutrality. However, we have no further plans to announce at this time.”
The announcement about the new factory could come before the UK-hosted Cop26 climate summit later this year, the Guardian speculated.
A spokesman for the UK government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told the paper: “We are dedicated to securing gigafactories and continue to work closely with investors and vehicle manufacturers to progress plans to mass produce batteries in the UK.”
Envision already tuns the Leaf battery making factory next door to Nissan’s Sunderland production line.
The UK built Leaf is the best selling electric car in Europe.
Envision said in a statement cited by the Guardian it had no comments to make “at this time”.