Nissan celebrated March 28 the official start of European production of the revised electric Nissan Leaf.

This new Nissan Leaf, already in production in Tennessee and incorporating more than 100 updates, is now rolling off the line at the company’s Sunderland Plant, in the UK.

The lithium-ion batteries are also manufactured in the UK, at Nissan’s new Battery Plant. This mirrors what Nissan has done to its Leaf production chain in the U.S., and is in line with the company’s strategy of building its cars as close to possible to where they are to be sold.

Together the Battery Plant and Nissan Leaf production are supporting jobs for more than 2,000 people in the UK car industry, including more than 500 directly at Nissan.

The new Leaf for 2013 has more than 100 updates, including an increased driving range of 199km (124 miles) and the ability to recharge in half the time of the first-generation Leaf.

UK Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. David Cameron said that “Nissan’s record breaking year last year is a success story for UK volume car manufacturing and demonstrates how our automotive industry is competing and thriving in the global race. I warmly welcome the production of the new electric Leaf model and battery plant at Sunderland. This £420 million investment, backed by Government, is supporting over 2,000 jobs in our automotive sector including more than 500 at Nissan in Sunderland, helping people in the area who want to work hard and get on.”

Nissan_Leaf_UK_Prod2-668This launch event comes as Nissan Sunderland Plant celebrates making more than seven million units since its opening in 1986.

Last year it produced 510,572 vehicles and so became the first UK car factory ever to make more than half a million cars in one year.

The Nissan Leaf is now built in three locations worldwide: Sunderland, UK; Smyrna, Tennessee, USA; and Oppama, Japan.

Integrated on the same line as the Nissan Qashqai SUV, the new Leaf is considered by the company as a major milestone in Nissan’s global zero-emission leadership.

In Europe, in just 12 months, Nissan has increased the number of dealers selling the Leaf from 200 to 1,400 and the number of charging points in Europe has grown from 12,000 to more than 20,000.