By David Bailey, Professor – Aston Business School
News that Nissan plans to build a new battery electric vehicle (BEV) at its Sunderland plant has been welcomed as a ‘pivotal’ moment for UK auto after Brexit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Nissan’s battery partner Envision will build a big new battery plant (a ‘gigafactory’) next door to produce the batteries needed for the model.
The investment safeguards Sunderland’s medium term future and is clearly welcome news. It is the first concrete investment in large scale battery manufacturing in the UK – a move that is vital for the auto industry as we approach a 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars.
But it’s only a first step and much more will be needed. As the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has stressed, the 9 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year of capacity committed by Nissan and Envision makes up less than a sixth of the 60GWh per year that will be needed to support mass car production in the ...