Nissan breaks ground at Smyrna Tenn. plant that will produce batteries and LEAF in 2012

Rendering of Nissan manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee

Nissan today broke ground on the project that will eventually bring production of the Nissan LEAF electric-vehicle to the United States. The groundbreaking celebration marks the beginning of construction of the company’s Smyrna, Tenn., plant that will produce lithium-ion batteries that power the Nissan LEAF. The LEAF itself will be manufactured in Smyrna at the beginning of 2012.

“Nissan is committed to affordable, sustainable mobility. What we”re doing here will radically transform the automotive experience for consumers. Today is a major step in helping create a green economy in the United States,” said Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “Production of Nissan LEAF and lithium-ion batteries in Smyrna brings the United States closer to its goal of energy independence, creates green jobs and helps sustain American manufacturing. Nissan is a leader in global manufacturing innovation, and this state-of-the-art battery plant will strengthen that leadership.”

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Nissan said that the production of the batteries and the LEAF will create up to 1,300 jobs when the plant is operating at full capacity. At full capacity, the plant will be capable of producing 200,000 advanced-technology batteries annually. The vehicle plant located adjacent to that will be retooled to make room for production of Nissan LEAF and will be capable of pumping out 150,000 electric cars annually.

The total investment in Smyrna comes out to $1.7 billion, which initially is being supported by a U.S. Department of Energy loan for 80 percent of that investment, up to $1.4 billion.

2011 Nissan Leaf:

– By: Omar Rana