Now that it seems every car maker from Mercedes on down is going to be getting into the hybrid or electric vehicle business, word is starting to filter out about not just the “whys” but more importantly, the “wheres” concerning production of the new generation of cars. The good news for autoworkers that might be looking for jobs, is that Nissan is rumored to be considering a battery or EV facility here in America.
In early 2009, Nissan submitted an application for low interest loans under the Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing incentive Program. Right, that’s not news, businesses are constantly applying for loans, tax breaks and what have you is standard practice these days. What makes this so interesting is that in order to receive this type of loan from the DoE, Nissan would have to use it to build something in the U.S. According to sources, if Nissan gets the loan it will add an additional production line at its Smyrna, Tennessee assembly plant to build electric vehicles and potentially battery packs for EVs. The Tennessee assembly line has an estimated capacity of 50-100,000 vehicles a year and could be up and running by 2012.
A Nissan-NEC battery joint venture dubbed Automotive Energy Supply Company also plans to set up shop in Smyrna. Word is that both batteries and electric cars will start production in Japan beginning next year before the possible move to the states. According to Reuters news agency, Nissan is expecting approval for a loan of $1 billion for the assembly and battery projects from the DoE.