Nissan ends production of Leaf in UK

Nissan bids farewell to an era as it halted production of the iconic all-electric Leaf MkII at its Sunderland plant in the UK last week. In a following move, the automaker readies its next-generation electric vehicles at the factory.

Since its inception in 2010, the Leaf has been a trailblazer in the electric vehicle market, with over 280,000 units produced at Nissan’s Sunderland facility out of the 650,000 sold globally.

The Sunderland plant, which commenced Leaf production three years after its launch, is now upgrading to accommodate the assembly of three new all-electric models, including the eagerly anticipated replacement of the Leaf.

Continued production in US

“After 13 years of great success, the current generation of Nissan Leaf, the world’s first mass-market 100% electric vehicle, is approaching the end of its life cycle in Europe,” a spokesperson from Nissan commented last week. The end-of-road in Europe isn’t a complete stop for the model, as production in Smyrna, Georgia, US, will continue into 2025 for local sales.

After that, the new Leaf, which is expected to blend the style from the Ariya and the Chill-Out concept unveiled late last year, will be made in Japan and Europe only.

Nissan is investing up to €3.4 billion in Sunderland to manufacture electric versions of popular models like the Qashqai and Juke alongside the third-generation Leaf EV. The budget comprises building a third gigafactory, while the British government also invests. The strategy follows the carmaker’s decision to deploy an all-electric line-up in Europe by 2030.

No liquid cooling

As reported by the local newspaper Sunderland Echo, Nissan’s decision to cease Leaf production in the UK this week aligns with the end of the model’s life cycle in Europe.

Though the model belonged to the pioneers of the EV transition and enjoyed success, it increasingly struggled to sustain its sales momentum due to the rise of electric SUVs and the battery pack’s lack of adequate thermal management, complicating fast charging in hot and cold conditions. It used air cooling instead of favored liquid cooling.

The Chill-Out concept is a preview of the new Leaf to come /Nissan

Crossover coupé?

The forthcoming replacement aims to revitalize Nissan’s electric vehicle offerings, focusing on recapturing some of its lost market shares in the increasingly competitive EV landscape.

Described as a crossover coupé SUV, the new Leaf promises a sportier and more dynamic design. Sources suggest that the model will boast a radical overhaul and a significant increase in range, catering to evolving consumer preferences and technological advancements.

Nissan’s Sunderland factory, boasting a workforce of approximately 6,000 individuals, traces its roots back to 1984 and exports roughly 70% of its output to mainland Europe.


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