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.