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Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

Production of the Nissan Leaf will kick off later this year in Japan. Output of the groundbreaking electric vehicle will initially be limited until two more plants come on-line. One, located in Smyrna, TN, should be production-ready sometime in 2012. The other, located in Sunderland, UK, is just slightly behind that with an opening date scheduled for 2013. Nissan has now officially broken ground on the Sunderland plant, helped out by a $228.7 million loan from the European Investment Bank.

The Sunderland plant will grow by some 82,025 square feet, allowing it to produce lithium-ion batteries and the Leaf simultaneously. Battery output should be around 60,000 per year with Leafs coming out at 50,000 per annum. All of this capacity could be for naught if demand for EVs doesn't rise quickly, but for now we don't think that'll be a problem.



[Source: Ward's Auto]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 3 Months Ago
      If anyone can do it it's the mackems.
      Sunderland is a good working class town that will hopefully support the leaf...2013 seems a long time though, will we have better batteries by then?
        • 3 Months Ago
        Nissan stated (and GM has implied this as well) that they expect to have batteries with double the capacity "in a few years", seems like 2013 or 2014 to me.
        • 3 Months Ago
        @sasparilla:
        'The Nikkei reports that Nissan Motor Co. has nearly completed development of a lithium-ion battery using a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cathode (NMC). The new system, which will reportedly offer almost double the capacity of Nissan/AESC’s current manganese spinel cell, is supposedly slated for deployment in electric vehicles in 2015.'

        http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/11/nissan-nmc-20091129.html#more

        Apparently the new technology can be introduced on existing lines when available without too much disruption though, but needs some more work to be fully production-ready.
        • 3 Months Ago
        Ahh yes sorry about that I mis-read it. Your right, a side by side development. That's the great thing about battery tech, you don't have re engineer a new engine, just pop in a battery
        • 3 Months Ago
        "produce lithium-ion batteries and the Leaf simultaneously"

        The "better" batteries you are looking for are already here, they just need to build them. And Nissan is making them for $9,000 USD per pack of 24 kwh.
      • 3 Months Ago
      I would have guessed a French plant off hand.
      Just seems like the French are really gearing up more than any place else with supportive infrastructure.
      Also, the renault/nissan alliance of course... with the leaf itself looking particularly French I've always thought.
        • 3 Months Ago
        There will be a French plant also, and a US plant, and a Portugal plant... Nissan/Renault is building 550,000 unit production capacity on 3 continents- and that's what's been announced so far. If all goes well, more is said to be in the planning phases.

        Nissan is the largest auto manufacturer in England. The UK and Ireland (with 5000 Euro incentive and ~4000 Euro road tax exemption) have significant enough EV programs that the cars will not need to be transported very far to reach their final destinations. Add in relatively small geographic areas, high gasoline costs and significant EV infrastructure being built, UK and Ireland could see significant adoption rates... In makes sense to build EV production capacity in England.
      • 3 Months Ago
      Battery plants opening in the US, the UK, Japan. Way to go, Nissan!

      This is the tip of the iceberg for electric cars.