Gigafactories aren't just for Tesla anymore.
Perhaps a sign of how far the rest of the EV market has come or perhaps just trying to keep up with legacy automakers like Ford (who announced yesterday they were tackling EVs head on), Nissan has announced it is in talks with the U.K. government to build its own Gigafactory in Sunderland.
The new factory would go at the company's existing site in Sunderland, FT wrote this week, and would be run by Nissan’s Chinese battery supplier Envision AESC. Nissan already makes batteries for its Nissan Leaf at a facility run by Envision near the proposed Sunderland site.
The purpose of the facility would be to support 200,000 battery cars per year and thousands of jobs.
A possible announcement for a deal could be scheduled for this summer, the report notes, "ahead of Britain hosting the COP26 climate summit this year."
Nissan is seeking "tens of millions of pounds" in financial support fort the project. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has called battery investment "essential".
Surely, the U.K. will be thinking back to when Tesla passed on the location in favor of Germany to build one of the company's factories.
“We are dedicated to securing gigafactories, and continue to work closely with investors and vehicle manufacturers to progress plans to mass produce batteries in the UK," a spokesperson for the U.K. government's business department told FT.
The site would be expected to produce 6 gigawatt hours of battery capacity per year and could open toward the end of 2024. The Sunderland area's current battery plant has a capacity of 1.9GWh. Nissan has referred to its already-existing facilities in Sunderland as “one of the best plants in the world for Nissan in terms of competitiveness” and that it has “played a pioneering role in developing the electric vehicle market”.
The U.K. is phasing out sales of ICE and diesel models by 2030 and Nissan is seeking to make its Leaf model the predominant EV in the country.