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Nissan, College Establish U.K. Electric Vehicle R&D Center

Nissan Leaf (Nissan Motors)

Nissan Leaf (Nissan Motors)

Nissan Motors and Gateshead College have unveiled plans for an academic center for research on electric vehicle technologies on the college’s campus in northeast England. Nissan is the maker of the plug-in electric Leaf to be produced at a plant in nearby Sunderland.

The Zero Emission Centre of Excellence (ZECE), as the joint project is called, will manufacture the technology for recharging the Leaf that meets CHAdeMO standards for car chargers. DBT, a maker of electric vehicle charging stations has agreed to house its production facilities to make new charging stations at ZECE, which plans to make up to 1,000 units per year for the European market.

Nissan says the Leaf can recharge 80 percent of its power in 30 minutes. The company plans to give away 400 of the DBT units for free to its partners and other organizations, to help meet the goal of having thousands of charging stations in place across Europe by 2015.

ZECE also plans to research potential uses for spent lithium-ion Leaf batteries, including as storage for renewable energy sources such as wind or solar. In addition, the facility will help train Gateshead students in electric vehicle technologies, including creation of apprenticeships. Gateshead currently provides training for Nissan workers at the Sunderland plant.

Nissan and Gateshead also partner the college’s Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation, located at the Nissan’s Sunderland plant for training in skills for a variety of clean technology manufacturing jobs, including those outside of the auto industry. That facility includes a test track for electric vehicles leased by Gateshead.

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