Nissan’s American Manufacturing: Batteries Now Included

Adding even further to its fast-growing U.S. manufacturing presence, Nissan recently announced that its lithium-ion battery plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, is now operational. The largest plant of its kind in this country, the facility is currently manufacturing battery packs for the 2013 Nissan LEAF and is capable of producing up to 200,000 units per year. As for the LEAF itself, it’s produced right next door, on the same line that also manufactures the all-new Nissan Altima, and is in line for numerous updates for the new model year—which will be detailed closer to the car’s on-sale date early in 2013.

According to Nissan Advantage, building vehicles like these in the United States is part of a new Nissan strategy to produce more of its core models in the markets in which they’ll be sold, helping to reduce costs for both the company and its customers. But it’s also a boon for the American workforce. The OR Nissan Dealer said that U.S. production of the LEAF and its batteries has already led to the creation of 300 new jobs, backed by an investment that will total $1.7 billion (and include $1.4 billion in funds from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program).

“Opening this U.S. plant is an important milestone in Nissan’s overarching strategy to foster sustainable mobility around the world,” said Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co. “Nissan is the zero-emissions vehicle leader, and we are making significant strides as one of the largest producers of electric vehicles and batteries in the United States. The opening of this facility in Tennessee supports our goal of making zero-emissions mobility a reality through American jobs and American manufacturing.”