Nissan –Renault alliance to build electric car battery plants in UK and Portugal

Nissan Renault plans to build two plants for the production of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars in the United Kingdom and Portugal, for their ''zero emission mobility programme'' in Europe.

Nissan said in a statement that it it plans to build a factory in Sunderland, northeast England, while it has yet to decide on the location of the planned factory in Portugal.

Nissan expects to invest 200 million pounds in the British plant and around 250 million euros in Portugal.

Each factory will be able to produce 60,000 vehicles a year and is scheduled for launch in Europe in 2011. The automaker says the governments of the UK and Portugal will offer grants, loan guarantees and other financial aid for the planned factories.

In the UK Nissan already has a major car manufacturing facility in Sunderland. The new site will be devloped as the Nissan European 'mother site' for battery production and be the centrepiece of the newly established 'low carbon economic area' in the North East of England.

Under this iniatiative, the UK government says, it plans to establish a new training centre, specialising in low carbon automotive technologies; a technology park and an open access test track for low carbon vehicles.