Nissan has today announced the signing of a memorandum of
understanding with Gateshead College to develop a Zero Emission
Centre of Excellence in the North East of England.
The new centre will act as a business incubator for the electric
vehicle industry, creating jobs in the region and developing
knowledge and technology. Research and development will initially
focus on charging infrastructure and battery second life.
Nissan has a longstanding relationship with Gateshead
College for the training and development of staff at its
record-breaking Sunderland Plant. The two organisations have
also worked together to develop the Gateshead College Skills
Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation, and
through the college's lease of the test track at Nissan
Sunderland Plant for the Zero Carbon Futures
Performance Track for the low carbon vehicle industry.
The ZECE will also act as a home for the manufacturing of
Nissan's cutting edge quick charger technology, which allows Chade
Mo compliant electric vehicles to charge to 80% in just 30 minutes.
This follows an agreement with charging station manufacturer DBT to
set up a new production facility at the centre which will produce
up to 1,000 units a year for the European market.
The target is to have a network of quick charge stations across
Europe with thousands of units in place by the end of 2015. To kick
start this ambitious programme Nissan is giving 400 units away to
Zero Emissions Mobility partners and volunteering companies in
The Centre will also investigate the best opportunities for
second life use of lithium-ion batteries that have been used
previously in Nissan's electric vehicles. Among the applications to
be explored, the Zero Emission Centre of Excellence will focus on
solutions to store the energy produced from renewable sources.
At the heart of this centre will be the development of skills
and the creation of jobs and apprenticeships building on Gateshead
College's track record in linking manufacturers with a trained
workforce in this new sector. All of these activities are aimed at
sustaining Nissan and Gateshead College's leadership position in
the electric vehicle industry.
Etienne Henry, Vice President of Product Strategy and Planning
at Nissan International SA and Head of the company's Zero Emission
Business Unit in Europe, commented: "This project will help Nissan
to investigate the unique opportunities that our electric vehicle
business brings as regards to charging infrastructure and battery
"For many of these aspects of our business we will need
commercial partners, funding or the agreement of public and private
entities and this agreement with Gateshead College will help us do
that. With production of the Nissan LEAF coming to Sunderland in
early 2013, the North East will become the epicentre of electric
vehicle expertise inEurope."
Richard Thorold, Principal of Gateshead College, said: "This is
a significant day for both partners and more significantly the Low
Carbon Vehicle sector of not just North East England but the whole
of Europe. For the College, it will be an historic day, advancing
our partnership with Nissan in a new and globally leading
"Gateshead College is proud to be Nissan Sunderland Plant's
preferred training provider and of the role we have played in
helping the plant become the largest in UK automotive history by
ensuring a workforce that is well trained, flexible and adaptable.
This exciting new development will build upon recent investments by
Nissan, the North East of England, the UK Government and the
College, and takes us forward as a centre at the forefront of
international automotive and low carbon technology."
Alexandre Borgoltz, DBT Development Manager, commented: "This is
a great opportunity for DBT to increase our production capacity and
will mean the North East of England will provide the complete value
chain for the EV industry: battery, vehicle and charging stations.
DBT will benefit from the activity generated in theUKby Nissan and
will be manufacturing in a region famous for the quality of its