Yokohama, Japan – The all-electric Nissan Leaf has started production in Oppama, Japan. The new model is scheduled to go on sale in December in the United States and Japan, and from early 2011, in select markets in Europe.

“This is a significant milestone, not only for Nissan and the Renault-Nissan Alliance, but also for the entire automotive industry,” said Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan. “Consumers are clear. They want sustainable and affordable mobility…and the Alliance is leading the way with cars that deliver exactly that, with the reliability, excitement and performance that consumers demand. The high-quality, innovative Nissan Leaf will radically transform what consumers expect from automobile manufacturers worldwide.”

The Leaf will be produced at the Oppama Plant along with the Nissan Juke and Cube. Part of the assembly line has been modified to mount battery modules at the stage of production where fuel tanks are traditionally installed, while motors and inverters are mounted at the point where engines are installed in gasoline-powered vehicles.

The lithium-ion battery modules are manufactured by Automotive energy Supply Corporation, a joint venture of Nissan and NEC, in Zama, Japan. The four-battery module is assembled at Zama and shipped to Oppama, where 48 modules are assembled into the car’s battery pack.

The company said that Oppama will serve as the “mother plant” for Leaf production, with future production sites planned for Smyrna, Tennessee and Sunderland, England.

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