Nissan recently announced plans to expand its lithium-ion battery production by building new manufacturing plants in England and Portugal. The additional plants will give Nissan the ability to supply both itself and partner Renault with up to 120,000 battery pack annually.
The new sites for lithium battery production include one in Sunderland, England where Nissan has an existing automotive manufacturing facility. The location of the other site in Portugal has not yet been selected.
The additional battery manufacturing facilities are on top of the announced expansion of the Smyrna, Tennessee plant. The plant in Tennessee will be the site of a newly built battery facility that has been partially funded by loans from the federal government. The loans were part of advanced vehicle technology loans aimed at helping automakers retool facilities for the cars of tomorrow.
Nissan will launch its first EV in the U.S. and Japan next year. They expect a worldwide launch by 2012. The vehicle will be launched in Portugal in mid 2011 upon the country meeting its agreement to have a network of at least 1,300 public charging stations throughout the country by that time.
The additionally battery capacity could likely be utilized in the additional upcoming hybrids that Nissan plans to launch sometime around 2012.
With Nissan's plans to release a mass market EV and several new hybrid models, the need for the lithium battery packs will be high. Rather than relying on an outside source for the lithium cell, the company will produce everything in house. This method ensures that they can keep up with demand and will likely reduce the costs of EVs and hybrids coming from the company allowing them to market these advanced technology vehicles below the prices of many competitors.