Nissan’s Tennessee assembly plant will have the capacity to build 150,000 Nissan LEAF electric cars per year, and 200,000 lithium-ion battery packs per year. Plant production starts in early 2013.The 2013 Nissan LEAFs will Level 2 charge at 6.6kW/h, double the current charge rate.
Nissan is the first to put 10,000 electric cars on the U.S. highways. The lithium packs could also be used in future Nissan hybrid cars. DOE Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, on January 28, announced the $1.4 billion loan agreement with Nissan North America. The loan will support the modification of Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee, manufacturing plant to produce the Nissan LEAF, a zero-emission, all-electric vehicle, and the lithium-ion battery packs to power them.
The Nissan LEAF is powered by 24kWh of laminated compact lithium-ion batteries, which generate 90 kW of power. Battery manufacturing is a joint-venture of Nissan and NEC. The LEAF supports the new J1772 smart grid charging standard.
The loan, which originated through the Department’s loan guarantee program office, 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. The program has encouraged Nissan, Ford, and others to build lithium battery packs and sometimes cells in the United States, rather than ship the jobs overseas.
The loan will result in the creation of up to 1,300 jobs when the plants are operating at full capacity. Modification of the Smyrna manufacturing plant, which will begin later this year, includes a new battery plant and changes in the existing structure for electric-vehicle assembly.
Nissan facilitates a holistic approach to zero-emission mobility by working with states, municipalities, utility companies, EPRI, and other partners, to prepare markets and infrastructure. Nissan has formed more than a dozen partnerships in the United States, in markets including State of Tennessee, the State of Oregon, Sonoma County and San Diego in California, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., Washington D.C., Seattle, Raleigh, N.C., and with Houston-based Reliant Energy.
Nissan, along with its Alliance partner, Renault, is committed to lead in pure battery-electric car sales.