Leaf electric car to be built in Sunderland

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The U.K. may soon become a major player in worldwide development and production of electric cars.

A key factor in this scenario is the announcement by Nissan that it will be building its new lithium-ion powered vehicle, the Leaf, at the U.K.’s largest car factory, the Sunderland plant.

The day after Nissan’s announcement, news was released about a market study to be carried out by experts at the University of Aberdeen, funded by the Energy Technologies Institute.  The study is intended to explore the potential market for electric cars in the U.K.  According to the study’s leader, Dr. Jillian Anable, they expect to come up with a profile of the typical buyer, based on such factors as age group, geographical location and general attitude regarding the new technology.

Dr. Anable said that the study will try to determine the most common use of the vehicles as well as the practicalities of ownership, including length of time for re-charging and whether that would take place at home or in other locations such as the workplace or the supermarket.  The convenience (or inconvenience) of re-charging, as well as the cost, will be important factors for the owners of these cars.

The ETI will use the results of the study to form an evaluation of consumer response, but the impact of Nissan’s decision and the government’s funding and support of the enterprise are positive indicators of future growth for the industry.  In addition, hundreds of jobs will be created and safeguarded at the Sunderland plant when production of the Leaf commences in 2013.

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