NISSAN is celebrating the 50,000th European-built Leaf to roll off the production line, three years after the brand introduced electric vehicle and battery manufacturing to Europe.
Built at Nissan’s flagship plant in Sunderland, it’s the first time a European carmaker has built 50,000 electric vehicles, alongside the batteries that power them.
The silver, Tekna-grade Leaf is destined for a customer in France. European-built Leafs are currently exported to 23 global markets covering western Europe and other destinations as diverse as Argentina, Iceland, Israel and Taiwan.
Production of the Nissan Leaf and its battery was launched in the UK in 2013 by David Cameron, supporting more than 2,000 jobs at Nissan and its UK suppliers.
2016 is shaping up to be a landmark year for the award-winning Leaf, with the extended-range 250km model introduced to Europe and the recent announcement that Nissan’s future-generation batteries are confirmed for production in Sunderland – resulting in a further £26.5m investment in the plant.
Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe, said: ‘What Nissan is doing today with electric vehicle technology is more advanced than any other car manufacturer.
‘This milestone is another first for Nissan and for our team in Sunderland. No other brand has Nissan’s experience or expertise in both battery and vehicle production, and I’m thrilled that over 50,000 customers in Europe share our vision for a zero-emission future.’
Five years ago, the Nissan Leaf was the first mass-market electric vehicle to go on sale and it remains the best-selling EV of all time, with almost 220,000 sold worldwide.
Transport minister Andrew Jones said: ‘This major milestone is great news for Nissan and yet another example of Britain leading the way in developing cleaner vehicle technology, which is good for the environment and supports jobs and growth. Our goal is for nearly every car to be zero-emission by 2050 and we are investing £600 million in electric vehicles to make this a reality.’
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