Nissan has opened the largest lithium-ion battery plant in the US at its Smyrna, Tenn., facility, to make battery packs that will go under the hood during ramp-up of production of its 2013 Nissan Leafs early next year. The milestone also marks the two year anniversary of the Nissan Leaf in the US market, where 18,000 units have been sold and 46,000 worldwide. So far, it’s the largest selling battery electric vehicle in history.
The Smyrna plant is one of three of its kind in the world. The first batteries produced at the plant have undergone a starting phase and are now ready to receive their first charge. The facility is capable of expanding to produce modules for up to 200,000 batteries annually depending on market demand. Those batteries can serve as the power source for the all-electric Nissan LEAF and for future vehicles that could be added to the portfolio.
The new battery plant is located adjacent to Nissan’s existing vehicle assembly plant in Tennessee, which has been retooled to accommodate production of the Nissan LEAF. Adding production of the Nissan LEAF and the battery has resulted in the creation of more than 300 U.S. manufacturing jobs to date. As battery production and LEAF assembly expand to accommodate demand, combined operations could add up to 1,000 additional jobs as needed.