Nissan has signed a memorandum of understanding with Gateshead College (UK) to develop a Zero Emission Centre of Excellence (ZECE) in the North East of England. The new centre will act as a business incubator for the electric vehicle industry. Research and development will initially focus on charging infrastructure and battery second life.
Nissan has a longstanding relationship with Gateshead College for the training and development of staff at its Sunderland Plant. The two organisations have also worked together to develop the Gateshead College Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation, and through the college’s lease of the test track at Nissan Sunderland Plant for the Zero Carbon Futures Performance Track for the low carbon vehicle industry.
The ZECE will also act as a home for the manufacturing of Nissan’s quick charger technology, which allows ChadeMo-compliant electric vehicles to charge to 80% in just 30 minutes. This follows an agreement with charging station manufacturer DBT to set up a new production facility at the center, which will produce up to 1,000 units a year for the European market.
The target is to have a network of quick charge stations across Europe with thousands of units in place by the end of 2015. Nissan is giving 400 units away to Zero Emissions Mobility partners and volunteering companies in Europe.
The Centre will also investigate the best opportunities for second life use of lithium-ion batteries that have been used previously in Nissan’s electric vehicles. Among the applications to be explored, the Zero Emission Centre of Excellence will focus on solutions to store the energy produced from renewable sources.