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Campaign builds to bring EV assembly to Nissan's Sunderland site

An agreement was signed last week which will sets out the roll-out of electric vehicles in the north-east of England.

Nissan and regional development agency One North East entered the next phase of their partnership on developing low carbon personal transport for the region.

And it is being seen as a vital step forward in lobbying for production of Nissan's Leaf electric vehicle to start at Sunderland.

The Japanese carmaker will establish a plant making batteries for its electric vehicles, and will put its first EV family car, the Leaf, on the road in the north-east in 2011.

Nissan's senior vice president for manufacturing in Europe, Trevor Mann, described the signing as "significant."

He said electric vehicle production was very important to the company.
"We believe in the medium term it is the right direction."

Mann told the Sunderland Echo that getting the infrastructure in place could help the bid to bring production of the Leaf to Wearside.

One North East has promised to install at least 619 publicly available, "future-proof" charging points by January 2011 to support both 3kW and 7kW charges and will also include twelve 50kW "rapid-charging" stations.

One North East will now develop incentives for electric vehicle owners, such as dedicated public parking places by November 2010 and preferential access to identified road lanes and city areas.


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