Nissan’s Next-Gen LEAF EV Production Challenges Unveiled

Nissan is gearing up for the production of the next generation LEAF electric vehicle, set to potentially commence as early as March. Despite the groundwork in progress for the new EV, a formidable obstacle looms over Nissan’s Sunderland plant, the venue for the upcoming electric era following the cessation of the iconic LEAF’s production earlier this year. With over 650,000 LEAF models sold globally, the introduction of new competitors has adversely impacted sales, prompting Nissan to fortify its Sunderland, UK site for the shift towards electric vehicles.


In a recent development, Nissan divulged a substantial $3.8 billion investment for the renovation of its Sunderland plant to construct three new electric vehicles, including electric versions of popular models such as the LEAF, Qashqai, and Juke. The rollout will kick off with the next-gen LEAF, entering production trials as early as August, potentially paving the way for full production as soon as March 2025.

Why does it matter?

Despite sizable investments and a commitment to manufacturing EVs in the UK, Nissan faces challenges articulated by Alan Johnson, the company’s regional manufacturing vice president. Johnson emphasized the hurdles associated with building EVs in the UK, citing issues like high energy costs, lack of definitive policies, and complexities in establishing a local supply chain. The disparity in energy expenses compared to mainland Europe poses a significant profitability threat, urging Nissan to enhance the plant’s renewable energy utilization.

How is it going to shape the future?

To offset soaring energy expenses, Nissan is ramping up renewable energy usage at the Sunderland plant, aiming to eventually achieve 100% renewable energy consumption. The site revamp includes a new battery facility to cater to the next-gen LEAF and an adjacent gigafactory. As Nissan prepares for escalated production, significant operational adjustments are underway, including upgrading technology and machinery to streamline EV battery assembly and upskilling staff for EV manufacturing. With the next-gen LEAF poised for a debut ahead of schedule, the automotive industry anticipates a resurgence in Nissan’s electric vehicle lineup, complementing the success of models like the Ariya electric SUV, underlining the brand’s commitment to sustainability and innovation.