Last summer Nissan was preliminarily approved to received a significant amount of money from the federal government to help them build the Leaf EV here in the U.S. Many doubted that Nissan would receive the money from the government due to the public reaction against a foreign company receiving U.S. government funds. To put doubters to rest, energy Secretary Stephen Chu announced yesterday that Nissan has been granted the funds it was seeking through the AVTM loan program.
The funds come from the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program or AVTM for short. Nissan will use the $1.4 billion to modify their existing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. Modifications to the plant will allow the Nissan Leaf to be built here in the states in the near future. Additional modifications will include an on-site lithium-ion battery pack assembly plant allowing the manufacturer to build Leaf packs nearby thus eliminating shipping costs and concerns.
According to Nissan, the plant will be able to produce up to 150,000 Leaf EVs per year after all modifications are completed. The modifications will take place over several years. Additionally, the battery manufacturing facility will have the capacity to churn out 200,000 battery packs each year.
Nissan estimates that 1,300 jobs will be created after modifications to the plant are complete and the plant is running at full capacity.
The move to approve Nissan for loans may make some upset, but the creation of U.S. based jobs and U.S built EVs is a step in the right direction.