Nissan starts production of lithium-ion packs for Leaf EV at Smyrna plant

Article by Anita Panait, on December 13, 2012

Nissan Motor Co. announced that its Smyrna battery plant in Tennessee has commenced producing lithium-ion packs for the carmaker’s rechargeable Leaf electric vehicle. In a statement, Nissan said that the first batch of batteries produced at the Smyrna plant, financed by a $1.4 billion low-interest federal loan, has completed an aging process and is ready for use.

Nissan has hired over 300 workers at the battery factory and adjacent auto-assembly plant, where the carmaker will start producing the Leaf in early 2013.

Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn said in the statement that the opening of the plant in Tennessee supports the carmaker’s goal of making zero-emissions mobility a reality “through American jobs and American manufacturing.” Nissan added it may hire another 1,000 new workers for the Tennessee plant.

Nissan, which aims to become the world’s largest seller of electric vehicles, has fallen short of Ghosn's target of selling at least 20,000 Leafs in the United States in 2012. For the January-November 2012 period, Nissan sold only 8,330 Nissan Leafs.

The carmaker will roll out a modified version of the Leaf early 2013, expecting its sales to rise with the addition of US production.

The battery plant in Tennessee is designed to build up to 200,000 packs annually. Nissan, along with Ford Motor Co., Tesla Motors Inc. and Fisker Automotive Inc., received federal loans from the Obama administration targeted at kick-starting a US market for battery-only cars and plug-in hybrids.

Sales of the vehicles, however, still have a long way to go to achieve the administration's goal of getting 1 million rechargeable cars to ply US roads by 2015.

There is no doubt that the tiniest detail can create an enormous effect.

Nissan LEAF's front style is distinguished by a crisp, erect V-shaped design that features elongated, upward slanting light-emitting diode headlamps that use an internal blue reflective design that states that this vehicle is unique. But the headlamps create more than just a declaration. They have also been engineered to ingeniously separate and convey airflow from the doors’ mirrors, thereby lessening wind drag and noise. And, they give yet another benefit because the headlights use only 10 percent of the electricity that conventional lights use, helping the Nissan LEAF to reach its superlative scope autonomy.

By using brightly coloured trims in its interior, the LEAF produces a pleasant and sophisticated cabin atmosphere. An eco-friendly blue earth coloured motif begins with the Aqua Globe body colour of the LEAF's starting models. This motif is continued in the interior via a blue highlighted dashboard and instrument lights.

CONNECTED IT MOBILITY SYSTEM

Nissan LEAF uses an elite modern IT system. It is linked to a global data centre, and the system can offer information, support, and entertainment to drivers every hour of the day.

The monitor mounted to the dash displays the LEAF's remaining charge, or reachable area, as well as offering a choice of charging stations that are close by.

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