The Prince of Wales visits Nissan’s Sunderland plant

The Prince of Wales visited Nissan's Sunderland plant yesterday to see production of the 100 percent electric Nissan Leaf and to learn about the Nissan Skills Foundation, a job-creation programme.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 21 Jan 2015 Views icon2616 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
The Prince of Wales visits Nissan’s Sunderland plant

The Prince of Wales visited Nissan's Sunderland plant yesterday to see production of the 100 percent electric Nissan Leaf and to learn about the Nissan Skills Foundation, a job-creation programme.  

Nissan says the Prince of Wales has a relationship with the plant that dates back almost 30 years. During a trip to Japan in 1986, he took part in a traditional Japanese Daruma ceremony to mark the start of production at the newly constructed Sunderland plant and rode in one of Nissan's ground-breaking electric vehicles at the company's Zama plant.

During the visit on January 20, the Prince of Wales was shown how a further 29 years of electric vehicle technology have helped make Nissan's electric Leaf the best-selling electric car in history. He also met apprentices and employees involved in the project.

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The Leaf, which went into production at the plant in 2013, is the world's first mass produced 100 percent electric vehicle and has notched sales of 33,000 vehicles in Europe and over 158,000 vehicles globally.

Paul Willcox, Chairman, Nissan Europe who hosted The Prince said:  "We were honoured to receive a visit from The Prince of Wales. With a keen, lifelong interest in sustainability, His Royal Highness was interested to see Leaf production as well as hear about Sunderland's achievements as one of the UK's most successful car plants."

Following the tour of the production line, the Prince of Wales visited Nissan's Global Training Centre, which is part of Gateshead College's Skills Academy for Sustainability, Manufacturing and Innovation. Nissan vice-president (manufacturing) Kevin Fitzpatrick introduced him to some of the schools engagement activities which form the Nissan Skills Foundation.

Fitzpatrick said:  "Nissan launched the Skills Foundation last year with the aim of using everything from electric vehicles to Formula One to encourage young people to take up careers in manufacturing and engineering. As one of the region's largest employers, it's important that Nissan take a lead role. I was delighted for the opportunity to show The Prince of Wales just some of the activities that we offer the region's schools."

The Prince met with pupils from Gillas Lane Primary School in Sunderland, St Cuthbert's in Newcastle and the Venerable Bede, Sunderland who were taking part in Nissan Skills Foundation activities which include the Industrial Cadets programme.

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