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Friday, July 22, 2011

Nissan to invest $68M to add Leaf motor production to US plant [video]

Nissan Americas today confirmed that, starting in early 2013, it will produce the electric motor for the Nissan LEAF at its Decherd, Tenn., powertrain assembly plant.

Preparation of the plant for electric motor production, facilitated by U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program loan funds, will include addition of a new assembly line and will create up to 90 new jobs.

When the new assembly line is completed, the plant will have the capacity to produce up to 150,000 electric motors annually for Nissan LEAFs, which will be built at the company's assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn.

"Nissan's Tennessee operations are paving the way to a zero-emission future for everyone," said Bill Krueger, vice chairman of Nissan Americas. "By delivering motors for the first mass-produced electric vehicles manufactured in the United States, our Decherd plant will play a vital role in making zero-emission mobility a reality for American consumers."

The work to support the electric motor assembly line represents the fifth addition to Nissan's Decherd operations, which began production in 1997. The new assembly line will be located within the existing facility using 100,000 sq.-ft. of available floor space, and will feature highly automated, state-of-the-art equipment including wire winding machines, magnetization and magnet insertion equipment, varnishing and hot press equipment and test equipment.

Today, the 1.2 million sq.-ft. Decherd plant produces engines and components for Nissan vehicles built in North America, and also houses engine casting and forging operations. The plant currently has the capacity to produce 950,000 engines, 1.1 million crankshaft forgings and 192,000 cylinder-block castings annually.

Nissan will produce the Nissan LEAF and the batteries that power it at its Smyrna manufacturing complex. The advanced, lithium-ion battery plant is on track to be operational late next year at approximately the same time LEAF production is targeted to begin in Smyrna.

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