Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen, Labour Members of the European Parliament for the North East of England visited Nissan to see the production of the all-electric LEAF electric car. Jude and Paul will collect two LEAFs cars which they will use over the following week to crisscross their constituency which stretches from Loftus in the south to Berwick in the north.
The 100% electric Nissan LEAF is the world’s first affordable, mass produced zero emission car. It was launched in 2011 and now built in the North East at Sunderland. The world's best-selling electric vehicle has a range of up to 124 miles and a top speed of 90mph. Nissan produces lithium-ion batteries for both the LEAF and the company’s electric van the e-NV200 at its battery plant in Sunderland. Over 3.7bn has been invested in its Sunderland plant since 1986.
Jude and Paul were elected in May 2014 and the visit to Nissan forms part of their regular ‘constituency week’ tours of the region. These weeks are set aside by the European Parliament to allow MEPs to engage with constituents. They will visit a range of organisations and businesses through the week across the whole of the North East.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said “Nissan is the jewel in the crown of the North East economy and it is a real bonus that the world’s first mass produced 100% electric car is being built right here. We’re thrilled to be able to road test the Nissan LEAF as we meet people across the region. It will be an opportunity to showcase what the car can do but also highlight some of the region’s famous places.
Paul Brannen MEP said “As we are often in Brussels or Strasbourg constituency week is a key part of our work representing the region. It’s important that we get out around the region as it helps us make our work closer to people, it also allows us to represent the region better in Europe. The LEAF is a perfect vehicle to help us travel around the region because not only does it represent the North East’s manufacturing sector but also the importance of tackling climate change.
They heard about how
· Nissan built the first ‘Bluebird’ in 1986
· That the plant uses 3500 tonnes of steel each week
· The production line is 5 miles long
· The cars produced are 90% recyclable
· There is a 1.6km test track on site
· It takes 2 seconds to fit a dashboard to a car
· Sunderland has the highest productivity of any European car plant
· Each car spends 3 hours 45 minutes on the production line
· From steel coming into the plant to a finished car takes 26 hours.