Nissan broke ground Wednesday on a electric car battery plant, as part of its plan to start building Nissan LEAF in Smyrna, Tennessee.
The battery plant is part of a $1.7 billion investment in electric car battery and LEAF assembly capacity in Smyrna, funded mainly by a $1.4 billion U.S. government loan. The $1.4 billion federal loan to Nissan is part of a $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program authorized by Congress as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
By the time it opens in 2012, the factory will be able to supply lithium-ion battery packs for 200,000 electric cars annually, topping Nissan’s plan to build as many as 150,000 rechargeable LEAF electric cars a year in Smyrna.
“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.”
Nissan said the LEAF will be the world’s first affordable zero emissions car. It will run completely on electricity and will fully charge in eight hours. It can reach up to 90 miles per hour and travel 100 miles on a complete charge.
The orders are piling up. Nissan has received 13,000 reservations for the $32,780 LEAF since last month, when it started to take $99 refundable deposits from customers to reserve a vehicle. With a federal tax credit, the price of the LEAF falls to about $25,000.