Currently reading: Nissan to build new Qashqai and Juke EVs in Sunderland
Investment of up to £2 billion means UK plant will go full-EV with two radical new models joining next-gen Leaf

Nissan will build the next-generation versions of the hugely popular Nissan Qashqai and Juke alongside the next Leaf at its factory in Sunderland, thanks to fresh investment of up to £2 billion by the firm and its partners – meaning all three models produced at the site will become fully electric.

The Qashqai and Juke have previously only been offered with combustion-engined powertrains, but their successors will be electric cars.

Both will also gain bold new styling, drawing heavily on the Hyper Urban and Hyper Punk concept cars shown at the Tokyo motor show recently. 

The investment will include up to £1.12bn by Nissan in its UK operations, with the rest provided by partners such as battery partner Envision AESC.

Nissan has been clear that the £2bn figure doesn't include UK government investment but comes purely from the firm ands its partners, although it is in talks with goverment officials over further support for the plant, which could take the form of financial incentives.

The new plans for Sunderland build on the 2021 launch of the EV36Zero hub at the facility, which will now encompass the production of three EVs – and will now include three battery gigafactories, the third of which is planned to be built in the International Manufacturing Plant next to the site and will be "more or less" the same size as the one under construction. 

The Sunderland site is currently home to production of the current petrol-engined Qashqai and Juke models, along with the second-generation Leaf EV.

Nissan had previously announced one electric car – a sleek new SUV that is now confirmed as the Leaf successor – would be built in Sunderland. The investment in the original phase of the scheme amounted to £1bn, including £423 million from Nissan.

The company said that the next investment by itself and its partners will be worth up to £2bn – meaning the move to convert the plant fully to EV production will represent a £3bn investment.


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Nissan boss Makato Uchida said that “exciting, electric vehicles are at the heart of our plans to achieve carbon-neutrality”.

He added: “The EV36Zero project puts our Sunderland plant, Britain’s biggest ever car factory, at the heart of our future vision. It means our UK team will be designing, engineering and manufacturing the vehicles of the future, driving us towards an all-electric future for Nissan in Europe.”

The substantial investment in the UK automotive industry has been welcomed by the government. Prime minister Rishi Sunak called it “a massive vote of confidence in the UK’s automotive industry, which already contributes a massive £71bn a year to our economy”.

He added: “This venture will no doubt secure Sunderland’s future as the UK’s Silicon Valley for electric vehicle innovation and manufacturing.”

Notably, around 80% of the cars built in Sunderland are exported abroad.

Electric Qashqai and Juke successors to feature bold new styling

In confirming it would build replacements for the Qashqai and Juke crossovers in Sunderland, Nissan has now given the first hints about their styling.

The two models will be “inspired” by the Hyper Urban and Hyper Punk concepts that were revealed at the Tokyo motor show recently.

The Hyper Punk, which previews the Juke, features a bold design that makes extensive use of origami-inspired “multifaceted and polygonal surfaces”.

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The Hyper Urban, described by Nissan as having a “sleek and modern aesthetic”, serves as a preview of the next Qashqai. The two concepts show that Nissan will build on the edgy styling of both the current Juke and Qashqai.

As previously revealed, the Leaf successor will be based on the 2021 Chill-Out Concept, and will represent a major shift from its popular predecessor, taking the form of a sleek crossover.

Nissan has previously revealed that the Leaf successor is due to go into production in 2026.

The Leaf replacement has previously been confirmed to arrive in 2026 and Nissan has committed to stop selling ICE cars in Europe by 2030 – five years ahead of the current date required to do so by both the UK and the EU.

No technical details have been released yet, but both will use Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance EV platforms.

The Juke and Qashqai will sit on the CMF-EV platform, used by the larger Nissan Ariya and the Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric.

The Sunderland plant will focus on the CMF-EV platform, with production of the new Nissan Micra EV – which will use the smaller CMF-BEV arhitecture – set to take place alongside the new Renault 4 and Renault 5 at a Renault plant in France.

The current Qashqai was launched in 2021 and was Britain’s best-selling car last year. It has accounted for around a fifth of all cars manufactured in the UK since 2007, and is widely credited with sparking the craze for SUVs. Meanwhile, the popular Juke has been on sale since 2019. 

Nissan’s Sunderland plant currently has two production lines: one for the Juke and Qashqai and one for the Qashqai and Leaf.

Nissan expands Sunderland investment

The original EV36Zero plan that launched in 2021 featured funding from Nissan, battery production partner Envision AESC and Sunderland City Council.

As well as the upgrades to the Nissan plant, the deal included a new Envision AESC battery gigafactory that will open with a capacity of 11GWh but could grow to an eventual annual capacity of 30GWh – enough to power around 100,000 EVs each year.

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That will sit alongside the existing 1.9GWh gigafactory, which will also be upgraded under the plan.

The new gigafactory is also set to be built by Envision AESC, which is owned by Chinese firm Envision. 

Nissan officials said that the third facility would need to be around the same size as the second one to give the plant the battery capacity it requires. The factory produced around 238,000 cars last year.

Envision AESC chairman Lei Zhang said that "in order to meet increasing battery demand from Nissan", the firm had "embarked on a strategic feasibility study focused on the potential expansion of our gigafactory operations in Sunderland".

Zhang added that the project was "a testament to AESC’s commitment to fostering innovation and propelling sustainable automotive solutions in the UK”.

Nissan noted that both vehicle and battery manufacturing will be powered by the EV36Zero Microgrid, which incorporates wind and solar farms at the site to provide 100% renewable electricity. That includes a new 20MW solar farm.

That's key to the investment, with the firm noting that the future energy requirements exceed the capacity is has from the national grid.

In total, the overall investment in the two new models, the third gigafactory and other infrastructure projects will be worth around £2bn, according to Nissan – indicating significant investment from other partners in the project.

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Nissan has also confirmed £15m of UK government funding for a £30m collaborative project that it will lead. That is designed to strengthen the zero-emissions expertise at the Nissan Technical Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire.

It isn't clear if the UK government has invested directly in Nissan’s Sunderland plant or whether it has offered other financial incentives.

The government has used the announcement to launch a new Investment Zone for north-east England that will focus on advanced manufacturing and green industries.

Announcing that deal, chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “Nissan has a proud history in car manufacturing in Sunderland, and their continued commitment to the UK shows how our support for business is getting results – helping create thousands of jobs and solidifying Britain’s place as the world’s eighth-largest manufacturer.”

Nissan currently has around 7000 UK employees and claims to support around 30,000 jobs in the wider UK supply chain.

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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GBM 24 November 2023

A somewhat disingenuous article. New EU rules coming into force in early 2024 will put a 10% tariff on UK car exports to the EU if the vehicle is less than 45% home made, something Nissan has previously made clear would make UK production unviable. Govt also has to compete with Chinese state subsidised imports. This is a politically motivated move, not a massive vote of confidence. 

scotty5 24 November 2023

That's right, Nissan haven't a clue what they're doing. 10% tarriffs, we forgot about that - doh! Of course it's a vote of confidence. If Nissan saw no future they would not be investing their own money. End of.

In no way would I even suggest Brexit aided this decision but news like this have remainers scraping the bottom of the barrel to find negatives in what's a good news story.

It was a politically motivated move to bring Nissan to the UK in the first place. It was a politcally motivated move for Germany to offer Musk 1 billion Euro of taxpayers money to build his plant in Germany. Of course investment on this scale is politically motivated. You don't think manufacturers chose locations based on scenery? Welcome to the world of business.

xxxx 24 November 2023

Couple of points. The EU rule you speak of coming that was to come in the 1st Jan 2024, I think, is about to be delayed for 3 years. Also, that tariff works both ways which is one reason why certain coutries are happy for it to be delayed.

Either way 3 new Nissan BEVs to be built in UK with UK batteries is good news in my book

Andrew1 24 November 2023
The part talking about further government financial incentives is carefully hidden in the text.

Regardless, I don't believe the 10% tariff will affect them much, as they don't plan to sell many of those in the EU.

I don't even remember ever seeing a Puke in continental Europe, just Qashqai every now and then.

Bob Cholmondeley 24 November 2023

New Qashcow inspired by Hyper Urban concept, ok...


If it looks anything like the concept, I'll eat both my hats.

Big Stu 24 November 2023

Sunderland isn't on Tyneside. It's on Wearside. The river Wear runs through Sunderland.