The Japanese company is said to be negotiating with ministers to gain support for the plan, which would make the site Nissan’s largest electrified car operation outside its home country and place Britain at the heart of its global efforts. to move away from fossil fuels.
If the move continues, it would be a huge vote of confidence in Britain’s manufacturing sector after years of warnings that the country’s exit from the European Union could trigger a big business exodus.
The investment would also mark a significant change of course for Nissan, which said before a Brexit deal was reached that it could end operations in the UK if trade terms such as tariffs on cars made the non-competitive production here.
The Northeast could become a hub for electric vehicles as Sunderland seeks investment from Tesla boss Elon Musk. A handful of “red wall” lawmakers have joined Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen’s attempt to lure Tesla north-east by signing a joint letter to the billionaire this week.
According to a report by Financial Times, Nissan’s existing battery production plant in Sunderland, run by its Chinese partner Envision, could be expanded to produce power supplies for 200,000 cars per year.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng held a Zoom meeting last Thursday with Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s COO, where the proposal and potential financing were reportedly discussed.
However, a source said talks over the Sunderland battery plant still have some way to go.
The automaker is seeking tens of millions of pounds in state aid to help fund the project.
Funding could come from a £ 500million jar that the government has pledged to produce from batteries in the fall, as part of a 10-point plan for a ‘green industrial revolution’ over the years. next four years.