The game-changing announcement from Nissan that they will produce two new electric vehicle models at its Sunderland plant will bring thousands of jobs, billions in investment and a whole new generation of skills and careers that will supercharge the North East for decades to come.

The Japanese carmaker’s new electric Qashqai and Juke models will be manufactured at the site as Nissan - which employs 7,000 people in the UK and supports another 30,000 jobs in its supply chain - puts in more than £1billion to enable a huge range of infrastructure projects.

How much the Government is investing to encourage the move is so far unclear, but it has always had to strike a difficult balance between what it will support and what it wil turn down. This one was too good to resist.

On top of the new gigafactory making the batteries they need the total investment is way ahead of £2billion, which means that all three cars currently produced at the facility – the Leaf, Juke and Qashqai – will continue to be made in the UK in the future and will all become electric before the end of the decade.

It also energises support here on the ground in the North East as confidence surges.

The Northern Echo: Qashqais at the Sunderland plantQashqais at the Sunderland plant (Image: Press release)

John McCabe, chief executive at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: "Investments such as this really highlight the North East’s huge potential, with thriving regional supply chains and availability of renewable energy sources, and we look forward to working with Nissan to provide support for the project."

Paul Butler, chief executive of the North East Automotive Alliance described the announcement as 'a landmark in the history of the UK automotive sector' that would see the North East automotive sector grow by £4bn over the next four years – making the combined turnover for the region in excess of £12bn per annum.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it made Sunderland 'the UK’s Silicon Valley for electric vehicle innovation and manufacturing.'

The company’s president and chief executive Makoto Uchida said: “The EV36Zero project (which brings together electric vehicle manufacturing, renewable energy and battery production) puts our Sunderland plant at the heart of our future vision.”

The Government also announced it has awarded £15 million of funding to the Nissan Technical Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, to strengthen its technical expertise and boost the research and development of zero emission vehicle capability.

The Northern Echo: Nissan in SunderlandNissan in Sunderland (Image: Press release)

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “Nissan has a proud history in car manufacturing in Sunderland, and their continued commitment to the UK shows how our support for business is getting results – helping create thousands of jobs and solidifying Britain’s place as the world’s eighth largest manufacturer.”

In his autumn statement on Wednesday, Mr Hunt announced that a tax break allowing firms to cut their bills if they invest in new equipment will be made permanent.

Sunderland Central’s Labour MP, Julie Elliott, said the investment meant the city had a “bright future”.

She said: “The decision by Nissan today is a great vote of confidence in the Sunderland plant.

“I am glad that the plant’s strong reputation for green technology continues.”

The announcement is also  a huge platform for the Government's forthcoming Advanced Manufacturing Plan setting out how it will will encourage manufacturers to invest in the UK.