The Department of Energy received $25 billion from Congress to dole out for green vehicles, the latest recipient of which is Nissan. The funding, which was part of an energy independence bill passed in 2007, intends to give a $1.4 billion loan to Nissan to help prepare its US production site for the all-electric 2012 Leaf. Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee, plant will be modified.
Nissan will also break ground on a new nearby factory to manufacture the battery packs. The Smyrna plant manufactures the Maxima, Altima, Frontier, and Pathfinder.
Scott Becker, senior vice president of administration and finance at Nissan North America, said that Nissan applauds the Department of Energy's "support of the development of innovative, advanced vehicle technologies, and the creation of clean energy jobs."
Becker talked about Nissan's commitment to zero-emission mobility. He said that the loan is a "significant step in sustaining American jobs and American manufacturing."
An upshot of the loan is that up to 1,300 jobs will be created. Nissan aims for the facility to produce up to 150,000 Leafs and 200,000 batteries per year for global consumption.
The modification project will begin later this year. Nissan plans to launch the Leaf in the U.S., Japan, and Europe in December of this year. [via autonews - sub. required]