Way back in June of 2009, Nissan announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) had approved the automaker's request for $1.6 billion in loans. Nissan designated the funds for updating its Smyrna, TN factory. Once renovations are complete, the Smyrna plant should be able to crank out 150,000 electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf, and up to 200,000 lithium-ion battery packs per year.
In May of 2010, Nissan utilized the DOE funding and broke ground on the Smyrna battery plant. Now, some nine months after the groundbreaking ceremony, Nissan announced that construction of the facility is on schedule and completion is still slated for late next year. The foundation for the 1.3-million-square-foot plant has been poured, portions of the structure's exterior walls have been erected and sections of the roof are set in place. Once complete, the sprawling facility will become Nissan's first lithium-ion battery plant outside of Japan and one of the largest facilities of its type in the U.S.
- Smyrna facility to be one of the largest electric vehicle battery plants in the U.S. -
Construction is progressing on Nissan's manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tenn., which will produce lithium-ion batteries to power the Nissan LEAF zero-emission vehicle. The all-electric Nissan LEAF will be produced at Nissan's vehicle assembly facility in Smyrna beginning in 2012.
The foundation is laid, structure being erected and roof being installed on the vehicle battery manufacturing plant, which at 1.3 million square feet at full capacity will be one of the largest in the country. The battery plant will be capable of producing 200,000 advanced-technology batteries annually. It is located adjacent to Nissan's vehicle assembly plant, which is being retooled to accommodate production of Nissan LEAF and will be capable of producing 150,000 electric cars annually. Combined, Nissan LEAF and battery production will create up to 1,300 U.S. manufacturing jobs when the plants are operating at full capacity.
"Nissan is making significant strides to be one of the largest producers of electric vehicles and batteries in the United States," said Carlos Tavares, Chairman, Nissan Americas. "We applaud President Obama's goal of bringing 1 million electric vehicles to U.S. roads by 2015 and look forward to doing our part to ensure that many of those vehicles, and the batteries that power them, are built in the United States."
Combined, the construction of the battery plant and modification of the Smyrna manufacturing facility represent an investment of up to $1.7 billion, which initially is being supported by a U.S. Department of Energy loan for 80 percent of that investment, up to $1.4 billion.
The loan was issued as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, a $25 billion program authorized by Congress as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The program is designed to accelerate the development of vehicles and technologies that increase U.S. energy independence, create cleaner means of transportation and stimulate the American economy.
Sales of the Nissan LEAF – the world's first all-electric, zero-emission vehicle available for the mass market – began in select markets in the United States in December 2010. It will be available nationwide in 2012, when production expands to the Tennessee facility. The Nissan LEAF initially is being produced in Oppama, Japan, and will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries being produced in Zama, Japan. The Renault-Nissan Alliance also will produce lithium-ion batteries in Cacia, Portugal, and Sunderland, UK, as well as in Renault's Flins plant in France.
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.nissanusa.com.