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

June 02, 2010

Nissan Breaks Ground on its U.S. Battery Plant for the All-Electric Leaf

Nissan broke ground on May 26 on a manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee, that will produce the lithium-ion batteries that power the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle. Although it will initially be produced in Japan, the Nissan Leaf and its lithium-ion batteries will be produced in Smyrna beginning in 2012. Modifying Nissan's existing vehicle assembly plant in Smyrna to produce the Leaf and building the new battery plant will represent an investment of up to $1.7 billion, which is initially being supported by a DOE loan for 80% of that investment. According to Nissan, roughly 13,000 people in the United States have placed a reservation for the Nissan Leaf since reservations opened on April 20. The Nissan Leaf will start rolling out to select markets in the United States, Japan, and Europe in December, followed by increased availability in spring 2011 and full market rollout in 2012. See the Nissan press release.

Ford Motor Company is also investing in electrified vehicles. The company announced on May 24 a $135 million investment in Michigan to design, engineer, and produce key components for the company's next-generation hybrid vehicles. Ford engineers in Dearborn will design the battery packs, while engineers in Livonia will design electric-drive transaxles. Ford is adding more than 50 engineers to build an in-house capability for electrified vehicles. Beginning in 2012, Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti will assemble the battery packs, while Ford's Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights will build the electric drive transaxles, creating 170 new jobs at the two facilities. Ford plans to launch an electric commercial van in North America later this year and will introduce an electric version of the Ford Focus in 2011. See the Ford press release.