Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. will Receive a $1.6 billion loan from the U.S. Dept. of Energy to manufacture electric vehicles in the U.S.
Nissan, which also wants money to fund assembly of advanced lithium-ion batteries, joins Ford Motor Co. and Tesla Motors Ltd. in getting DOE funding.
“This loan is an investment in America. It will help us put high-quality, affordable zero-emissions vehicles on our roads,” Dominique Thormann, senior vice president-Administration and Finance for Nissan North America Inc. says in a statement. “This project will expand our Smyrna plant and that's great economic news.”
Nissan will use the funding to retool an unspecified line at its Smyrna, TN, vehicle assembly plant, as well as build a new plant, to be operated by Nissan, to produce lithium-ion batteries for an electric vehicle. Construction is slated to begin later this year and be completed by 2012.
Capacity of the electric vehicle line at Smyrna will be 150,000 units annually, while battery-plant capacity is set at 200,000 units per year.
Nissan says it will begin selling an electric vehicle on a limited basis late next year, with widespread sales set for 2012.
Nissan had applied for a share of the $25 billion in loans under the DOE program for U.S. auto manufacturers late last year, and in February had made it past the first hurdle of the process to access the funding.
In February, the DOE had received applications for more money than was available, 75 worth $38 billion.