NISSAN and its Alliance partner, Renault, believe that zero emission vehicles represent the ultimate solution to sustainable transport. That is why the company has committed to leading the world in the mass marketing of zero emission electric vehicles.
Production of the Nissan LEAF - the world's first affordable, mass market zero emission car - will begin in Oppama, Japan later this year followed by Smyrna, Tennessee, USA in 2012.
Sunderland will come on-line in early 2013 with an initial annual production capacity of about 50,000 units.
As one of only three initial production locations worldwide, Sunderland is going to play a key role in Nissan's zero emission strategy. The launch of LEAF will be preceded by the opening of an advanced lithium-ion battery plant in 2012, adjacent to the existing car factory, following a total investment of £420m.
In total, Nissan and Renault are creating a global capacity of half a million electric cars, underlying their commitment to what we see as a revolution in road transport - offering customers the practicality of a traditional Internal Combustion Engine vehicle, but with zero tailpipe emissions.
The LEAF will be the first in a range of electric vehicles offered by Nissan and is a real-world family car, providing the same space, comfort and performance of a similar vehicle in its class. Its lithium-ion battery - specifically developed for LEAF - delivers a top speed of 90mph and a driving range of 100 miles on a single charge.
Nissan understands that the electric revolution will not happen overnight. Although zero-emission vehicles are the centrepiece of Nissan's product strategy, the company is also investing in a portfolio of low-emission technologies (called PureDrive) such as clean diesels, efficient internal-combustion engines and hybrids.