Nissan to make new electric cars, batteries in Britain

LONDON — Japanese carmaker Nissan and two partners on Thursday announced plans to invest 1 billion ($1.4 billion) pounds to produce a new model of an all-electric vehicle and batteries in northeast England, a major victory for the U.K. government’s efforts to attract jobs and investment following the country’s departure from the European Union.

Nissan said it will build its next generation all-electric vehicles at the company’s plant in Sunderland, creating more than 6,200 jobs at the factory and its suppliers. As part of the project, Envision AESC will build the U.K.’s first “gigafactory,” supplying next generation batteries for the new cars.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the project as a “major vote of confidence in the U.K.”

Thursday’s announcement marks a turnaround for Nissan, which had threatened to leave the U.K. after Brexit because of concerns about increased tariffs and red tape. But freed from EU competition rules, the government is now able to offer financial incentives to attract investment.

Nissan chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta declined to say how much financial backing the government had given the project.

“Time will come we will discuss (it) with you,” Gupta told the BBC.