This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 28, 2010

DOE Closes $1.4 Billion Loan to Nissan

DOE announced January 28 that it has closed its $1.4 billion loan with Nissan North America, Inc. to build an advanced battery manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee, and to retool the automaker's existing Smyrna factory so it can build electric automobiles. Nissan plans to use the loan to produce its all-electric vehicle, the LEAF, at the retooled Smyrna plant. Nissan will offer electric vehicles to fleet and retail customers, and the automaker plans to ramp up production capacity in Smyrna so that it can build 150,000 vehicles and 200,000 battery packs annually. The two projects are expected to create up to 1,300 U.S. jobs and to conserve up to 65.4 million gallons of gasoline per year.

The Nissan announcement marks the third loan agreement signed by DOE with an advanced technology vehicle manufacturer, following a $5.9 billion agreement with Ford Motor Company in September 2009 and a $465 million loan agreement with Tesla Motors, Inc. on January 21. DOE has also signed a conditional commitment with Fisker Automotive to build plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by reopening a shuttered auto plant in Wilmington, Delaware. Tenneco, Inc. became the first advanced technology component manufacturer to obtain a conditional commitment from DOE in October of last year.

Congress appropriated $7.5 billion to DOE to support up to $25 billion in loans to companies using U.S. factories to make cars and components that increase fuel economy at least 25% above 2005 fuel economy levels. DOE plans to make additional loans over the next several months to large and small auto manufacturers and parts suppliers up and down the production chain. See the DOE press release and the LEAF page on the Nissan Web site.