Nissan has announced plans to build its new zero emissions electric car, the Nissan Leaf, at its UK plant in Sunderland. Production will begin in 2013 and forms part of a �420m investment in electric cars by the Japanese firm. The manufacturer said the Leaf would be the world's first mass-produced zero-emission car, and around 50,000 a year will be made in Sunderland. The investment will be supported by a �20.7m government grant and a proposed finance package from the European Investment Bank of up to �197.3m. Sunderland had been tipped as favourite for European production of the Leaf since the Nissan sited its electric car battery plant nearby. Founded in 1984, Nissan's Sunderland factory employs around 4,000 people and built its five-millionth vehicle in June 2008. Nissan's Andy Palmer said: "Thanks to the UK's firm commitment to a low carbon future in terms of infrastructure, customer incentives and educational programmes, Nissan Leaf will be built at Sunderland, making the UK the third country in the world to produce this revolutionary car."