nissan leaf battery infographic

After years of preparation, Nissan has finally and officially started making battery packs for the all-electric Leaf in the US. The plant in Smyrna, TN is now online and making batteries for the 2013 Leaf that will go into production nearby early next year in the same plant where Nissan makes the Altima and Maxima. Nissan is calling the new production facility the "largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant" in the US. Until now, all Leaf packs (and vehicles) were made in Japan. Nissan is also opening a Leaf plant in the UK.

While Leafs sales have not reached the numbers Nissan predicted years ago, the car is selling well enough and Nissan has said it expects US Leaf sales to double once the Tennessee plant comes online. In the two years that the car has been on sale, Nissan has sold over 18,000 in the US and more than 46,000 globally; good enough for Nissan to call it "the most successful 100-percent electric vehicle in history." Nissan says the Smyrna plant could make up to 200,000 batteries (previously 150,000) annually.

If you need a simplified graphic description of how a Leaf pack is put together, we've got just the image for you, right below.
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Nissan Celebrates Two Years of LEAF Sales with Announcement of U.S. Battery Plant

-Largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant in the U.S. now assembling batteries in Tennessee to power all-electric, zero-emission 2013 Nissan LEAF-

FRANKLIN, Tenn., Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With two years of Nissan LEAF sales just completed, the company today announced the launch of the United States' largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant in Smyrna, Tenn. The facility – which is making battery components for the ramp-up of production of the all-electric, zero-emission 2013 Nissan LEAF early next year – is one of three of its kind in the world operated by a major automaker.

Since December 2010, Nissan has delivered more than 18,000 LEAFs to U.S. customers and more than 46,000 worldwide, making it the most successful 100-percent electric vehicle in history.

"Opening this U.S. plant is an important milestone in Nissan's overarching strategy to foster sustainable mobility around the world," said Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co. "Nissan is the zero-emissions vehicle leader, and we are making significant strides as one of the largest producers of electric vehicles and batteries in the United States. The opening of this facility in Tennessee supports our goal of making zero-emissions mobility a reality through American jobs and American manufacturing."

The first batteries produced at the plant have completed the required aging process and are now ready to receive their first charge. The state-of-the-art facility is capable of expanding to produce modules for up to 200,000 batteries annually depending on market demand. Those batteries can serve as the power source for the all-electric Nissan LEAF and for future vehicles that could be added to the portfolio.

The new battery plant is located adjacent to Nissan's existing vehicle assembly plant in Tennessee, which has been retooled to accommodate production of the Nissan LEAF. Adding production of the Nissan LEAF and the battery has resulted in the creation of more than 300 U.S. manufacturing jobs to date. As battery production and LEAF assembly expand to accommodate demand, combined operations could add up to 1,000 additional jobs as needed.

The Nissan LEAF is manufactured on the same line as Altima and Maxima so volume can readily be adjusted among the vehicles to meet demand. The 2013 model-year Nissan LEAF will receive a number of technological advancements and feature changes, which will be announced closer to the vehicle's on-sale date in early 2013.

The recent growth of Nissan's U.S. manufacturing plants is part of a strategy to localize core-model production. By 2015, Nissan aims to have 85 percent of all Nissan and Infiniti products that are sold in the United States produced in North America. Nissan, which is in the middle of a product blitz launching five key models in 15 months, will report record sales for 2013 following a year of significant new vehicle introductions, such as the all-new 2013 Altima, Sentra and Pathfinder.

Combined, the construction of the battery plant and modification of the Smyrna manufacturing facility represent an investment of up to $1.7 billion when built to full capacity. The project is supported by a U.S. Department of Energy loan for up to $1.4 billion.

The loan was issued as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, program authorized by Congress as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The program is designed to accelerate the development of vehicles and technologies that increase U.S. energy independence, create cleaner means of transportation and stimulate the American economy.

For more information, photos and videos about this release visit NissanNews.com.

About Nissan
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 248,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4.8 million vehicles in 2011, generating revenue of 9.4 trillion yen ($118.95 billion US). With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of 64 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero-emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades, including the prestigious 2011-2012 Car of the Year Japan and 2011 World Car of the Year awards.

For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.

About Nissan Americas
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, and 2012 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the Americas media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.