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Nissan broke ground on a new battery plant in Smyrna, Tennessee yesterday (figuratively, anyway, the actual bulldozing doesn't start for a few weeks). For now, we will call this the U.S. Leaf battery plant, but it's really part of Nissan's strategy to electrify more and more of its vehicles. As we mentioned yesterday, once it is up and running at the end of 2012, the plant will have the capacity to make 200,000 battery packs a year. The nearby vehicle assembly facility where the U.S.-built Leafs

Nissan Leaf factory rendering – Click above for high-res image gallery

2010 Nissan Leaf EV - Click above for hi-res image gallery

2010 Nissan Leaf EV - Click above for hi-res image gallery

Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee assembly plant will soon be cutting its CO2 emissions and improving productivity. The plant is retrofitting 60 material handling tugs that are used to move parts around with new methanol fuel cells. The tugs are currently fitted with lead acid batteries that have to be swapped out as they run down, a process that takes a technician 15-20 minutes each. A total of 35 man-hours a day are spent just replacing batteries. The fuel cell setup uses liquid methanol as a fuel an

Following up Nissan's first set of U.S. buyout packages offered a year ago, employees at both the Smyrna and Decherd powertrain plants in Tennessee will be offered a lump sum payout along with medical and car purchase benefits to leave. Last year, the buyouts attracted 775 workers, though the payout at that time was just $45k plus an additional $500 for each year of service. This time, the lump sum starts at a heady $100k. Not surprisingly, Nissan is expecting more people to take the package thi

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