Secretary of energy announces closing of $1.4B loan with Nissan
Posted: Monday, February 1, 2010 10:33 am
By: The Associated Press
The Messenger 02.01.10
By BILL POOVEY
Associated Press Writer
CHATTANOOGA (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy has closed a $1.4 billion loan agreement with Nissan North America Inc., a transaction the automaker said will eventually create up to 1,300 jobs at its Smyrna assembly complex to make the all-electric Leaf and lithium-ion battery packs to power it.
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said the previously announced deal is part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. Congress authorized the $25 billion program as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
Nissan NA senior vice president Scott Becker said in the agency’s Thursday statement that “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.”
In addition to a new battery plant, modifications set to be made later this year at the Japanese automaker’s Smyrna complex will accommodate electric-vehicle assembly.
In 2008, 25 years after becoming the first foreign automaker to locate an assembly plant in the South, the automaker moved into a new $100 million North America headquarters south of Nashville in Franklin.
Nissan NA spokeswoman Katherine Zachary said Thursday that hiring for the jobs will coincide with the scheduled opening for the new battery plant in late 2012. She said there will be up to 1,300 new jobs “when the plants are operating at full capacity.”
The assembly plant will have the capacity to build 150,000 electric cars per year and the new plant will have an annual capacity of 200,000 batteries.
The five-passenger Leaf sedan will be sold in the U.S., Japan and Europe starting in December 2010.
Nissan has more than a dozen partnerships in the United States, in markets that include Tennessee, 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.