Nissan has restarted production at its Oppama, Japan plant. For the first time since the tremendous quake rattled Japan on March 11th, the lines at the Oppama facility are rolling and Nissan Leafs are trickling out of the plant's doors. As the sole production site for the Leaf – at least until Nissan's plants in Smyrna, TN and Sunderland, UK come online in 2012 – the Oppama facility has handled assembly of all of the 5,000-plus Leafs made so far.
As Nissan gets ever closer to Job 1 for its new dedicated battery electric vehicle, the question arises: Where does it get built? That question has now been answered with the announcement that its Oppama factory near Kanagawa will be the initial source of its EVs. Production will start in the fall of 2010 with low volumes that will initially go to various commercial and government fleet customers. Over the following two years, production will be ramped up toward full retail availability in 2012.