After years of preparation, Nissan has finally and officially started making battery packs for the all-electric Leaf in the US. The plant in Smyrna, TN is now online and making batteries for the 2013 Leaf that will go into production nearby early next year in the same plant where Nissan makes the Altima and Maxima. Nissan is calling the new production facility the "largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant" in the US. Until now, all Leaf packs (and vehicles) were made in Japan. Nissan is also opening a Leaf plant in the UK.

While Leafs sales have not reached the numbers Nissan predicted years ago, the car is selling well enough and Nissan has said it expects US Leaf sales to double once the Tennessee plant comes online. In the two years that the car has been on sale, Nissan has sold over 18,000 in the US and more than 46,000 globally; good enough for Nissan to call it "the most successful 100-percent electric vehicle in history." Nissan says the Smyrna plant could make up to 200,000 batteries (previously 150,000) annually.

If you need a simplified graphic description of how a Leaf pack is put together, we've got just the image for you, right below.
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Nissan Celebrates Two Years of LEAF Sales with Announcement of U.S. Battery Plant

-Largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant in the U.S. now assembling batteries in Tennessee to power all-electric, zero-emission 2013 Nissan LEAF-

FRANKLIN, Tenn., Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With two years of Nissan LEAF sales just completed, the company today announced the launch of the United States' largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant in Smyrna, Tenn. The facility – which is making battery components for the ramp-up of production of the all-electric, zero-emission 2013 Nissan LEAF early next year – is one of three of its kind in the world operated by a major automaker.

Since December 2010, Nissan has delivered more than 18,000 LEAFs to U.S. customers and more than 46,000 worldwide, making it the most successful 100-percent electric vehicle in history.

"Opening this U.S. plant is an important milestone in Nissan's overarching strategy to foster sustainable mobility around the world," said Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co. "Nissan is the zero-emissions vehicle leader, and we are making significant strides as one of the largest producers of electric vehicles and batteries in the United States. The opening of this facility in Tennessee supports our goal of making zero-emissions mobility a reality through American jobs and American manufacturing."

The first batteries produced at the plant have completed the required aging process and are now ready to receive their first charge. The state-of-the-art facility is capable of expanding to produce modules for up to 200,000 batteries annually depending on market demand. Those batteries can serve as the power source for the all-electric Nissan LEAF and for future vehicles that could be added to the portfolio.

The new battery plant is located adjacent to Nissan's existing vehicle assembly plant in Tennessee, which has been retooled to accommodate production of the Nissan LEAF. Adding production of the Nissan LEAF and the battery has resulted in the creation of more than 300 U.S. manufacturing jobs to date. As battery production and LEAF assembly expand to accommodate demand, combined operations could add up to 1,000 additional jobs as needed.

The Nissan LEAF is manufactured on the same line as Altima and Maxima so volume can readily be adjusted among the vehicles to meet demand. The 2013 model-year Nissan LEAF will receive a number of technological advancements and feature changes, which will be announced closer to the vehicle's on-sale date in early 2013.

The recent growth of Nissan's U.S. manufacturing plants is part of a strategy to localize core-model production. By 2015, Nissan aims to have 85 percent of all Nissan and Infiniti products that are sold in the United States produced in North America. Nissan, which is in the middle of a product blitz launching five key models in 15 months, will report record sales for 2013 following a year of significant new vehicle introductions, such as the all-new 2013 Altima, Sentra and Pathfinder.

Combined, the construction of the battery plant and modification of the Smyrna manufacturing facility represent an investment of up to $1.7 billion when built to full capacity. The project is supported by a U.S. Department of Energy loan for up to $1.4 billion.

The loan was issued as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, 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.

For more information, photos and videos about this release visit NissanNews.com.

About Nissan
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 248,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4.8 million vehicles in 2011, generating revenue of 9.4 trillion yen ($118.95 billion US). With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of 64 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero-emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades, including the prestigious 2011-2012 Car of the Year Japan and 2011 World Car of the Year awards.

For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.

About Nissan Americas
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 and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, and 2012 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the Americas media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 51 Comments
      Kenneth E
      • 2 Years Ago
      Step 1: start production on batteries... Step 2: start production on vehicle Step 3: lower the price so that I can afford one:) Seriously though, when are they going to announce the lower prices that will speed up ev acceptance here?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Kenneth E
        Kenneth, they are leasing them for $199/month right now. My mom just got one and with the $2500 California rebate it was like getting the first 3.5 months free! After the fuel savings from her 21 mpg Volvo, she's getting a brand new car for $116/month! http://www.cecsb.org/item/mikki-j-is-driving-an-electric-car-for-116month
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Kenneth E
        You forgot these steps: Step 2.5 - ? Step 4 - Profit
          HVH20
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          I thought it was good. Underpants gnomes.
          Turbo Froggy
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          I heard that Nissan dealers are offering $5000 off for trade in for a gently used set of underpants...
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Oh come on. Don't you people watch South Park?
          Dave D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          LOL Yes, I gave you a thumbs up for the reference :-)
        pmpjunkie01
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Kenneth E
        They will announce them once they've taken all the year end sales with the old specs and at the higher price. Why should they shoot themselves in the foot announcing it now?
      chanonissan
      • 2 Years Ago
      I glag we had this discussion so you now know what is going on , it is the larger displacement vehicle fuel efficiency they need to raise, like the infinitis, maxima and the altima, rogue just to name a few. The versa and the sentra already has or more combined 35 mpg, meeting cafe standard.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nissan needs to add more EV models. I guess the Infiniti LE is on the way but I doubt that will be a big seller. We need some variety. More people want EVs but not all of them want an econobox hatchback.
        brotherkenny4
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        I never thought I would be so shallow as to even consider the appearance of a vehicle, but the leaf makes me do that. It is so disappointing. Calling it an econobox is being nice. It is "Son of Gremlin" if you ask me.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          Gremlin? Ouch. Next you'll be comparing to the AMC Pacer. The bulging headlights on the Leaf are a bit weird. Yeah, I know they have a purpose but they are still weird. I still think we should eliminate the side-mirror requirement if you put in a camera system.
      chanonissan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Correction to your statement Ine937s, Nissan will introduce 15 new hybrid models by 2016 not in the next 5 years, that is keeping with nissan 2016 program. And when they mean 2016, the Vehicle could be release in 2015 for the year 2016.
      chanonissan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let me make it more clearer, you said 5 years, if I add 5 years to FY 2012 , it is FY 2017, which could mean the the hybrids will be introduce any were in FY 2017, which would be incorrect, Nissan said it's it 15 hybrids and green program will be by ending FY 2016, that is 4 years. When reuters said FY 2017 it meant April 2017, when the FY year 2016 enjust ended.
      lne937s
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here is a tip. Nissan is a very financially driven company. Generally, any times Ghosn or COO Shiga make a reference to a year without specifying, they are referencing Fiscal Year. Designers, on the other hand, are typically referring to model year... everyone else are a little harder to guess.
      chanonissan
      • 2 Years Ago
      No, No, you got it confused my friend, Nissan had an 2010 Green Program that ended 2010, they had a new six year program that is called "2016 Green Program" that started 2010, but will finish fiscal year 2016, what happened, it was annouce in 2011 by Carlos Ghosn, that is how the next 5 years come into play.The program will end 2016 with hybrid and electic cars. The vehicles will appear before or in year 2016. I have provide info on the 2010 and 2016 program. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/12/nissan_announce.html http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/10/nissan-20111024.html Now I hope you understand Ine937s. If you need more information check Nissan usa site nissannews.com or nissan-global .com Cannot paste Nissan original info due to copyright.
      chanonissan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Thank God now I can at least show you something that can back me up that the cafe standard is one of the main or the most significant reason they are coming with hybrid vehicle. Notice the man said to meet cafe standard , not euro5, and Japan but the USA CAFE standard, hybrid play a key role. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L08258jnMoM
      lne937s
      • 2 Years Ago
      The fact of the matter is that the official announcement was by the end of FY2016 which is March 2017 and is counter to most of what you have written to this point, such as: "Stated to meet CAFE standard by 2016, or if you want to use fiscal year 2017" "BY FY2017 OR BY 2016." And your other posts were confused as well, positioning the announcement as being for model year rather than Fiscal Year such as: "when they mean 2016, the Vehicle could be release in 2015 for the year 2016." If you want to be absolutely accurate, it is 4 years and 4 months from the announcement date, which is more than 4 years and less than 5. But because it is still within 5 years, the original statement I put in place does not need to be "corrected". And vehicles can still be released in calendar year 2017, could be a 2018 model, and still fall under the announcement. If you wanted to give a more percise March 2017 date to begin with (which you didn't, talking rather about 2016 model year), then that would be acceptable and I would have agreed with you, but that would be a clarification, rather than a "correction".
      lne937s
      • 2 Years Ago
      Your concept of the Nissan Fiscal Calendar is wrong. FY2012 runs to March 2013. FY2016 runs from April 2016 to March 2017. FY2017 runs from April 2017 to March 2018. So when Nissan announcels there will be 15 hybrid models by the end of FY2016, that means by March 2017. There is no overlap between FY17 and CY16. It is likely 2018 models will be introduced by March 2017 (End of FY2016). Look at financial announcements: http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/IR/FINANCIAL/ Your correction is incorrect.
      Levine Levine
      • 2 Years Ago
      Increase Leaf's range to 160miles, lower price to Prius level , and the Prius is history. Lower price to Corolla level, Toyota is history.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        I'm sure they'd love to do that. But it is just not easy to do.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        impatient much? how about waiting for the 3rd or 4th model year
      lne937s
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think you are jumping to conclusions a little here. Yes, I am fully aware of the upcomming CAFE regulations, and I have no doubt that Nissan will do what they need to in order to comply. And it is highly unlikely they will wait to the last minute to introduce them all-- some are planned for next year. However, The US is less than 1/4th of Nissan's global sales and it is highly likely that some of the 15 hybrid models will not even be offered in the US, potentially in countries with even stricter regulations (i.e. Serena minivan, which is their top-selling model in Japan). The announcement was for total global new hybrid introductions by March 2017 (end of FY2016). While some of them will end up here and support CAFE compliance, there is no need to jump to conclusions that this is exclusively about US and CAFE. If you are expecting all 15 new hybrid models in the US between now and the start of 2016 calendar year (in order to qualify for the CAFE standard that year), you are likely to be disappointed.
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