UK Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk MP witnessed the delivery of 14 Nissan LEAFs to participants of the Switch EV programme at the Nissan plant in Sunderland last week. Mr Prisk also received a tour of the production facilities where the Nissan LEAF will be manufactured from 2013.
The Switch EV project, which began in September last year and involves several other automakers, is one of eight UK projects supported by the Technology Strategy Board’s £25m Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles Demonstrator Programme and is aimed at accelerating the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the UK.
These 14 drivers will use the five-seater vehicle as their own car for six months to experience and report on life with an electric car.
Mark Prisk said: “The UK Government has set a clear ambition of placing the country at the global forefront of low and ultra low carbon vehicle development. Nissan in Sunderland has taken up the challenge.
“Today I’m delighted to hand over the keys to these 14 Nissan LEAFs so people can experience and feedback valuable information on what it’s really like to drive an electric car as part of the largest project of its kind in the world.”
Trevor Mann, Nissan Senior Vice President for Manufacturing in Europe, said: “Today marks a major milestone in the advancement of electric vehicles in the UK. Up to now Nissan has only been able to allow limited access to the zero-emission Nissan LEAF – but today we are handing over 14 cars to members of the public for six months.
“The drive home today will be enough for these drivers to realise that driving the Nissan LEAF does not mean they have to compromise on driving experience or performance.”
Later this year nearly automotive 30 facilities will throw open their doors to visitors with the intention to give school children and students a look behind the scenes as part of an initiative called ‘See Inside Manufacturing’. The activities will give the opportunity to see what a career in manufacturing or engineering can offer.
See Inside Manufacturing will focus on young people to encourage take up of Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects as well as undergraduates considering their future career options. All the automotive activities are being co-ordinated by the joint industry/government Automotive Council. Click here for more information.