Electric-vehicle programme considered for north-east England

Carmaker Nissan, which has a factory in Sunderland, and regional development agency, One North East, have formed a partnership to explore the development of a zero-emission mobility programme in the UK.

The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding during a visit to north-east England by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, marking the beginning of a four-month development programme to push forward the use of electric vehicles in the UK. It includes a feasibility study into the introduction and manufacture of electric vehicles in the region.

Under the terms of the agreement, Nissan and One North East will form working teams to promote electric vehicles (EVs) including incentive schemes and educational programmes.

In addition, the partners will share information on EV development and examine the suitability of local infrastructure for the launch of EVs, as well as promoting Nissan’s Sunderland plant as a strong contender for EV production.

No commitment beyond the feasibility study has been made at this stage.

Nissan will launch its first zero emission electric vehicles in Japan and the US next year before mass marketing them globally from 2012.

Margaret Fay, chairman of One North East, said: “I am delighted that Nissan has recognised the potential of the North East in the development of a successful EV infrastructure. We have the political will, academic research, great engineering industry, but most importantly we are willing to invest in the infrastructure that enables companies to develop their vehicles to a scale that is not available anywhere else.”

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