A few day ago, we released news about DOE funds going to Nissan, Tesla, and Ford.  Well when you get money, you have to come up with a way to spend and Nissan has done just that.

Nissan intends to use portions of their $1.6 billion in funds to increase total EV capacity at their plant in Tennessee to over 100,000 units by 2011.

According to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, "We are intending to assemble batteries and assemble cars, and the site we have selected is Smyrna, Tenn.  This announcement came on Tuesday at the companies annual shareholder's meeting.  Ghosn went on to say, "The capacity that we are envisioning as a first step is even above 100,000."

Money from the DOE will stay here in this country and provide for the necessary updates to equipment at Nissan's plant in Tennessee.  The company plans to begin selling a zero emission vehicle here next year.

The details of Nissan's plans are provided here.  A large sum of the funds will go towards a 1 million square foot lithium-ion battery facility.  This will enable Nissan to produce batteries in house and avoid high shipping costs.  At one million square feet, sources say the plant will be close to the size of ten Walmart stores and have the capability to make batteries on site.  From cells, to modules, to complete systems, all will be made in house.

According to Nissan's vice president of manufacturing engineering Mark Swenson, "We wanted the battery plant as close to the manufacturing line for the vehicle as possible.  Just for logistics benefits, the battery pack itself weighs around 500 pounds.  So the closer we can it to where it is installed in the vehicle, the better."  The battery plant will be located near the manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tenn.

According to Nissan, the could either chose to operate the battery plant themselves, or outsource it to one of their partners.  Which option they chose will mainly come down to cost of labor.

Additional money will be spent on converting the existing Smyrna plant over from body on frame trucks and SUVs to building future EVs.  Right now, the plant will build both EVs and trucks and SUVs, but after conversion, most output will shift over to EVs.  By 2012, the plant will be capable of producing 150,000 EVs per year.

In addition to the money received from the DOE, Nissan plans to invest over $1 billion of their own money into both the battery plant and converting the manufacturing facility.

All of the construction and converting lines will begin in early 2010.

There is no word yet as to how many jobs will be created by all of the work done at Nissan, but they will be jobs for American workers.

It looks like the DOE knows where to send to funds to produce American jobs and create spending here in the states.  Congrats to Nissan for keeping the money here and building new facilities as so many automakers are closing existing facilities down for good.

Source:  Automotive News