The 50,000th U.K.-built Leaf rolls off the production line three years after Nissan introduced electric-vehicle and battery manufacturing to Europe.
Manufactured at Nissan U.K.’s flagship plant in Sunderland, 275 miles (440 km) north of London, it is the first time a European automaker has built 50,000 EVs and the batteries that power them.
The landmark Leaf is destined for a customer in France, one of 23 export markets ranging from mainland Europe to Argentina, Iceland, Israel and Taiwan.
Nissan says 2016 is shaping up to be a landmark year for Leaf, with the extended-range 155-mile (250-km) version introduced to Europe and the automaker’s confirmation that its future-generation batteries will be produced in Sunderland – a further £26.5 million ($38.3 million) investment in the plant.
Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox boasts the automaker’s EV technology is more advanced than that of any other automaker.
“This milestone is another first for Nissan and for our team in Sunderland,” he says in a statement. “No other brand has Nissan’s experience or expertise in both battery and vehicle production.”
Five years ago, the Leaf was the first mass-market EV to go on sale, he says, and it remains the world’s best-selling EV with almost 220,000 units delivered.
Nissan is building a second EV in Europe, the e-NV200 van, at its Barcelona plant in Spain. It’s powered by the same U.K.-built advanced lithium-ion batteries as the Leaf.
Elsewhere, Nissan and power-management company Eaton jointly unveil a new residential energy-storage unit, giving Nissan’s EV batteries a second life after their usefulness in cars is over. The xStorage unit is powered by 12 Nissan EV battery modules and is available to pre-order starting in September.
Nissan and Eaton expect to sell more than 100,000 xStorage units within the next five years.