Nissan has just announced that the Department of Energy has approved its request for a $1.6 billion low interest loan under the ATVM program. The money will be used to update the Smyrna, TN factory to build up to 150,000 battery electric vehicles and 200,000 lithium ion battery packs annually. Smyrna currently builds the Altima, Maxima, Frontier, XTerra and Pathfinder. Given the lagging sales of trucks, it seems likely that the pickups and SUVs will move out of Smyrna to make way for the new electric cars. The EV will be a five-passenger vehicle that will go into limited production in Japan in 2010 with U.S. production kicking off in late 2012. The extra battery capacity is being put in to accommodate sales to companies that aren't Nissan or Renault. Nissan and its joint venture partner NEC have indicated a willingness to sell batteries to any other automaker that wants them. Work on modifying the Smyrna facilities is expected to start by the end of this year.
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
06.23.2009 , Franklin, Tenn.
NISSAN'S PLAN FOR ZERO-EMISSIONS VEHICLES ADVANCES WITH U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY LOAN
- Automaker Will Use Loan to Add American Jobs, Help Improve Environment -
FRANKLIN, Tenn. (June 23, 2009) – Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) today said it has been conditionally approved by the U.S. Department of Energy for a $1.6 billion loan to modify its Smyrna, Tenn., manufacturing plant to produce zero-emissions vehicles and state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery packs to power them.
The loan, announced by the U.S. Department of Energy, is among the first three loans under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVMLP), a $25-billion program authorized by Congress under Section 136 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The loan will help Nissan produce electric vehicles, which emit no gases and are powered only by electricity.
"This loan is an investment in America. It will help us put high-quality, affordable zero-emissions vehicles on our roads," said Dominique Thormann, senior vice president, Administration and Finance for NNA. "This project will expand our Smyrna plant and that's great economic news."
The ATVMLP 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. Companies receiving the loans go through a rigorous financial and technical qualification process and must put collateral in place before approval.
Construction at Smyrna is scheduled to begin by the end of this year, after an environmental assessment is completed. Production is planned to start in late 2012.
Nissan is committed to being a leader in zero-emissions mobility. It will offer electric vehicles in the United States and Japan beginning in 2010. The first vehicles for the U.S. market will be built in Japan before production is shifted to Smyrna.
"Nissan is confident that the Smyrna employees have the skill and dedication to take on this critical role in Nissan's future by launching a new form of transportation in the United States," said Susan Brennan, vice president, in charge of manufacturing at Smyrna. "This opens a new chapter in Nissan's 26-year manufacturing history in America."
The modifications of the Smyrna manufacturing plant include a new battery plant and changes in the existing structure for electric-vehicle assembly. When fully operational, the vehicle assembly plant will have the capacity to build 150,000 zero-emissions vehicles a year and the new plant will have an annual capacity of 200,000 batteries.
Nissan's electric vehicle will comfortably seat five people, drive on any American road or highway and have an initial range of 100 miles before recharging.
To help ensure that infrastructure is in place to support zero-emissions vehicles, during the past year, Nissan has been involved in establishing partnerships with governments, municipalities, utility companies, and public and private organizations aimed at creating conditions that will support the market for zero-emissions vehicles.
In the United States, Nissan is working with the State of Tennessee, the State of Oregon, Sonoma County and San Diego in California, Phoenix, Tucson, Seattle, Raleigh, and Washington, D.C. Globally, Nissan, with its Alliance partner Renault has begun ZEV initiatives in Kanagawa Prefecture and Yokohama in Japan, as well as in Israel, Denmark, Portugal, Monaco, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Ireland, China and Hong Kong.
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling. 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.