Nissan gets approval to expand Tennessee battery plant


Technician attaches bus-bars to lithium-ion cell stack assembly at plant in Smyrna, Tennessee

Technician attaches bus-bars to lithium-ion cell stack assembly at plant in Smyrna, Tennessee

Nissan has received local government approval to add more than 26,000 square feet of floor space to the Smyrna, Tennessee, plant where it produces batteries used in the Leaf electric car.

Smryna's Planning Commission on Wednesday voted 4-0 in favor of Nissan's intention to enlarge the 475,000 square-foot plant, which is operated by Nissan subsidiary Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC).

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Nissan operates AESC in conjunction with Japanese electronics firm NEC.

However, Nissan announced in August that it will sell the Smryna facility—as well as a similar plant in Sunderland, England, and the company's battery engineering resources to Chinese private investment firm GSR Capital.

Nissan will buy NEC's shares and include them when it divests itself of AESC to GSR Capital. The sale, rumored to be for around $1 billion, is expected to close by the end of the year.

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While every Nissan battery-electric vehicle (including the Leaf and the e-NV200 sold outside the U.S.) has made use of AESC-built cells, its French alliance partner Renault has contracted with LG Chem for some of its vehicles. The Renault-Nissan alliance is also attempting to make its electric-cars more

The Smyrna facility employs about 8,400 workers to assemble lithium-ion batteries for the Leaf.

The battery-producing facility was built in 2012 on 884 acres southeast of Nashville.

 
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