Nissan has started, actually they are nearing completion, of a 1.3 million square-foot lithium ion battery facility in Smyrna, Tennessee. Nissan has spent $1.7 billion on the building and upgrades to the vehicle assembly site in addition to $1.4 billion from the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan from the US government. Nissan says shipping cost savings and the ATVM loan made bringing Nissan Leaf production to North America a smart choice for the company.
Nissan says the Smyrna plant will employ 1300 workers to produce the US built Nissan Leaf and the lithium ion battery packs for the Leaf. Nissan Leaf production is set to comment in late 2012, with the first Nissan Leafs set to hit dealers in early 2013.
Nissan is expecting the plant to be able to produce as many as 150,000 Leafs and 200,000 battery packs each year. The new facility will also have the room to grow as needed in the coming years.