image005Smyrna, Tennessee – Nissan has broken ground for a new manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee that will produce lithium-ion batteries for the Leaf electric car. The Leaf will be built at the assembly facility in Smyrna beginning in 2012.

When operating at full capacity, the Leaf and battery production will create up to 1,300 jobs. The battery plant, one of the largest in North America, will be capable of producing 200,000 batteries annually and will be located adjacent to the car plant. The company said it will be able to produce 150,000 electric cars annually.

“Nissan is committed to affordable, sustainable mobility,” said Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan. “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.”

Construction of the battery plant and modification of the car plant to accommodate Leaf production represents an investment of up to US$1.7 billion, which will initially be supported by a U.S. Department of Energy loan for 80 per cent, up to $1.4 billion.

Approximately 13,000 U.S. consumers have placed reservations for a Leaf since the process began on April 20. The Leaf will roll out in select markets in the U.S., Japan and Europe in December, with increased availability beginning in the spring of 2011, and full market roll-out in 2012. The initial cars and batteries will be produced in Japan.

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