50,000th Nissan Leaf electric car built in U.K. plant


Nissan Leaf electric-car assembly at Sunderland, U.K., plant

Nissan Leaf electric-car assembly at Sunderland, U.K., plant

The Nissan Leaf, by far the world's best-selling electric car, is built in three countries.

Outside Nissan's home market of Japan, Leafs are assembled in both Smyrna, Tennessee, and at Nissan's Sunderland plant in the U.K.

The U.K. plant recently reached a significant milestone, building its 50,000th Leaf electric car since production began there in 2013.

DON'T MISS: U.K. Plant To Assemble Larger Battery Packs For Next Nissan Leaf

That 50,000th U.K.-built Leaf was a silver car in the Tekna trim level, destined for a customer in France.

Sunderland currently builds Leafs to supply 23 markets, including Western Europe and countries further afield, like Argentina, Iceland, and Israel.

Nissan surpassed 200,000 Leaf sales globally back in January, and now claims to have sold nearly 220,000 of the electric cars.

Nissan Leaf electric-car assembly at Sunderland, U.K., plant

Nissan Leaf electric-car assembly at Sunderland, U.K., plant

That makes the Leaf the bestselling electric car in the world, although it's off the pace originally hoped for by the carmaker when the Leaf launched in December 2010.

CEO Carlos Ghosn had originally projected that Leaf production would reach 250,000 cars per year by 2014: 150,000 in the U.S. and 50,000 each in Japan and the U.K.

ALSO SEE: Five Years After Launch, 200,000th Nissan Leaf Electric Car Sale Coming Up (Dec 2015)

In addition to the Leaf, the Sunderland factory also builds the Nissan Juke and Qashqai crossovers, and the Note hatchback (sold as the Versa Note in the U.S.).

Nissan recently announced a 26.5 million-pound ($37.9 million) investment in the Sunderland plant, partly to prepare for production of larger battery packs for the next-generation Leaf.

Nissan Leaf electric-car assembly at Sunderland, U.K., plant

Nissan Leaf electric-car assembly at Sunderland, U.K., plant

The 300 workers in the Sunderland battery factory there have assembled first- and second-generation 24-kilowatt-hour batteries for 2011-2012 and 2013-2016 Leafs, respectively.

Sunderland presently imports the new 30-kWh pack offered on higher-end 2016 Leaf trim levels from Smyrna, Tennessee.

MORE: European electric and plug-in hybrid sales for January-March 2016

The second-generation Leaf is expected to be unveiled sometime this year or in 2017, and go into production as a 2018 model.

At least one version is likely to have a 200-mile range to rival the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3, both of which will be priced within the same ballpark as the current Leaf.

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