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Prince Charles toured Nissan's Sunderland plant in the UK, where the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle is produced.

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But A Switch To LG Chem May Be Under Discussion

The big news on the electric vehicle front today is that Nissan is considering slowing down EV battery production in the US and UK and source all of Nissan's big packs come from Japan. Nissan may also buy some batteries from the Korean company LG Chem. This is apparently causing dissent within Nissan, but it follows what Alliance partner Renault is doing in the hunt for 180-mile EVs.

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The name of the game these days in the luxury marketplace is premium compacts. BMW has the 1 Series and 2 Series, Mercedes the A-Class, B-Class, CLA and GLA, Audi has the A1 and A3, even Lexus has the CT 200h. Among the last to get in on the action is Infiniti, but that's all about to change.

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With the Infiniti Q30 concept heading to the Frankfurt Motor Show next month and a future premium compact model heading into production at Nissan's Sunderland UK assembly plant, just connecting the dots tells us this new small Infiniti is headed for UK production. Backing this up, Reuters is reporting that Nissan is looking to expand the Sunderland plant by 25,000 square feet, while Automotive News Europe takes it a step further by almost confirming that the Q30 will be built alongside the Nissa

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Building the Leaf in Tennessee helped Nissan sell more of the all-electric car in the US in March than in any other month. The start of production in the UK, in Nissan's Sunderland plant, has been in the planning stages for a while and today's official start of production means the world's best-selling all-electric vehicle is now being made on three continents (since 2010, the Leaf has been made in Japan). The Sunderland plant was opened in 1986, and Nissan invested £420 million ($635 mill

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Aside from certain naming-related news, Infiniti has actually had some decent product news to announce this week. The company's president, Johan de Nysschen, alluded to a new 550-horsepower performance sedan, and now the automaker has confirmed that a new "premium compact" will go into production in 2015. Based on the fact that this new model will be built alongside the Nissan Leaf at the automaker's Sunderland, UK assembly plant, we could only hope that it's a production version of the LE Conce

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Nissan has been exporting all-electric Leaf vehicles from Oppama, Japan to both the U.S. and Europe for over a year, and that's been putting a ceiling on sales numbers and a limit on how low the price can go. To minimize these barriers, the Japanese automaker is getting factories ready in both Smyrna, TN and Sunderland, UK to serve the U.S. and European markets, respectively. Over in Europe, local production, which is scheduled to start in February, 2013, will also bring a few changes to the car

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Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Click on the teaser above for the hi-res gallery

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Nissan's new Qashquai crossover (say it fast), the smart-looking little wagonoid introduced earlier this year at Paris, officially went into production yesterday at Nissan's Sunderland plant in the UK. It'll be produced alongside the NOTE, Micra, Micra C+C, and Primera -- vehicles which, like the Qashquai, aren't available on these shores.

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