The loan, which originated through the Department’s loan guarantee program office, was issued as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, a $25 billion program authorized by Congress as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The program is designed to accelerate the development of electric vehicles and technologies that increase U.S. energy independence, create cleaner means of transportation and stimulate the American economy. The loan was finalized after a rigorous financial and technical qualification process.
"Nissan applauds the Department of Energy’s support of the development of innovative, advanced electric vehicle technologies and the creation of clean energy jobs," said Scott Becker, senior vice president, Administration and Finance, Nissan North America. "Nissan is committed to zero-emission mobility. This loan, which will bring production of the Nissan LEAF to Tennessee, is a significant step in sustaining American jobs and American manufacturing."
The loan will result in the creation of up to 1,300 jobs when the plants are operating at full capacity. Modification of the Smyrna manufacturing plant, which will begin later this year, includes a new battery plant and changes in the existing structure for electric-vehicles assembly. When fully operational, the vehicle assembly plant will have the capacity to build 150,000 Nissan LEAF electric cars per year, and the new plant will have an annual capacity of 200,000 batteries.
Nissan, along with its Alliance partner, Renault, is the only automaker committed to mass marketing all electric vehicles on a global scale. Nissan LEAF, a five-passenger sedan, will be available for private and fleet customers. It is being launched in the U.S., Japan and Europe in December 2010. Nissan has spearheaded a holistic approach to zero-emission mobility by working with states, municipalities, utility companies and other partners, to prepare markets and infrastructure. Nissan has formed more than a dozen partnerships in the United States, in markets including State of Tennessee, the State of Oregon, Sonoma County and San Diego in California, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., Washington D.C., Seattle, Raleigh, N.C., and with Houston-based Reliant Energy.
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling.