Nissan's new Smyrna site is the largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant in the U.S.
Photo by Nissan
The first lithium-ion batteries made in Nissan's new Smyrna assembly plant are ready to power the 2013 LEAF.
While the new batteries were produced a few weeks ago, they've only now completed the required aging process enabling them to receive their first charge.
The new battery plant is located adjacent to Nissan's existing vehicle assembly plant, which has been retooled to accommodate production of the Nissan LEAF.
"The opening of this facility in Tennessee supports our goal of making zero-emissions mobility a reality through American jobs and American manufacturing," said Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co.
Production of the Nissan LEAF and the battery has added more than 300 jobs at the site. Nissan officials say operations of both the battery and car building plants could expand to 1,000 additional jobs in the future. The battery facility is capable of expanding to produce modules for up to 200,000 batteries annually.
The plant was supported by a Department of Energy loan of up to $1.4 billion, and construction of the battery site and alterations of the vehicle manufacturing facility may eventually reach a $1.7 billion total investment.
By 2015, Nissan aims to have 85 percent of all Nissan and Infiniti products that are sold in the United States produced in North America.