Nissan shifts electric car production into overdrive

Nissan has accepted a $1.4 billion loan from the US Department of Energy (DoE) to modify its Tennessee plant for the production of electric vehicles. 

The Japanese-based company plans to use the facility to manufacture its flagship LEAF – a zero-emission, all-electric car, along with lithium-ion battery packs.

According to Nissan, the US DoE deal was negotiated under the auspices of the Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, which was authorized by Congress as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

“The program is designed to accelerate the development of vehicles and technologies that increase US energy independence, create cleaner means of transportation and stimulate the American economy,” explained Nissan spokesperson Scott Becker. 

“[We are] committed to zero-emission mobility. This loan, which will bring production of the Nissan LEAF to Tennessee, is a significant step in sustaining American jobs and American manufacturing.”

Becker noted that the loan and subsequent production of electric cars is expected to create up to 1,300 jobs.

“When fully operational, the vehicle assembly plant will have the capacity to build 150,000 Nissan LEAF electric cars per year, and the new plant will have an annual capacity of 200,000 batteries,” added Becker.