LONDON -- Nissan will build the fourth generation of the Leaf electric car's lithium ion battery at its UK factory, ending speculation that the automaker would outsource production to an external supplier to reduce costs.
The move represents a 26.5 million pound ($37.5 million) investment and will safeguard 300 jobs at the plant in Sunderland, northeast England, Nissan said in a statement today.
The plant currently makes the second-generation 24kW battery pack for the Leaf compact and for Nissan’s eNV-200 van. It also imports the third-generation 30kW battery from Nissan’s plant in Smyrna. Tennessee.
The fourth-generation battery that will go into production in Sunderland will have a higher energy density, Nissan Europe’s head of manufacturing, Colin Lawther, told Automotive News Europe.
The battery will have a longer range than the 250 km (150 miles) of the current Leaf. Nissan has not said what the range will be.
Lawther said Sunderland won the contract to build the latest generation batteries partly because the plant had tight cost controls and there were no warranty claims on the batteries it had already made.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said in 2014 that the automaker was “open to outsourcing” battery production in Sunderland.