LaHood: Obama wants to offer electric-car rebate on day of purchase

Ray LaHood at Nissan's Tennessee Battery Plant

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood took a tour of the construction site where Nissan is building a plant to manufacture advanced lithium-ion batteries. The Smyrna, Tennessee plant, which will be the largest in the country capable of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications, will produce the battery packs for the Nissan LEAF.

During his visit to the plant, LaHood told Nissan executives and workers that the Obama administration wants consumers to be able to get a tax rebate at dealerships at the time of an electric-car purchase.

Currently, the government offers a $7,500 tax credit on the purchase of EVs, but that can’t be taken until buyers file their income taxes. LaHood said he expects the change to be a part of any tax bill passed in the next year and a half.

Nissan said that construction of the plant is approximately 75 percent complete and scheduled to be finished by late summer. Following completion, Nissan then will start installing the manufacturing equipment that will be capable of pumping out lithium-ion batteries in late 2012. The plant will be able to produce 200,000 batteries annually.

“With gas prices at record highs, the Obama Administration has taken aggressive action to make sure families have access to fuel efficient vehicles that can help reduce their transportation costs,” said LaHood. “That’s why I’m so thrilled to see the progress Nissan is making at its new manufacturing facility, where American workers will soon be building cutting-edge batteries for a new generation of electric vehicles that are good for the environment, good for the economy, and good for American consumers.”

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Nissan, Detroit News