Nissan’s Sunderland factory, which starts production of the Leaf EV from 2013, has won EUR220m in support from the European Investment Bank. 

The EIB said reduction of carbon emissions linked to transport is a key objective of its 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 EIB is also funding the expansion of dedicated charging stations across Europe.

Nissan said initial production capacity for the EV at Sunderland will be around 50,000 vehicles a year. The company will also start making lithium-ion battery cells from early next year at Sunderland which the automaker describes as the company’s new ‘European mother plant’ for battery production.

The investment is also helped by a GBP20.7m (EUR 23.1m) business grant from the UK government.

Simon Brooks, EIB vice president for the UK, said the investment “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.”