Nissan Gets $1.6 Billion in Loans From US Govt ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Nissan Gets $1.6 Billion in Loans From US Govt

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nissan Gets $1.6 Billion in Loans From US Govt

As part of the $25 billion loan program set up to help auto makers retool or build factories to build more fuel efficient vehicles, Nissan announced they were approved, conditionally, to receive $1.6 billion. They will be using the money to modify the plant in Smyrna, Tenn to produce zero-emission vehicles and state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery packs to power them.

The loan is being awarded by the US Dept of Energy (DOE). Ford and Tesla will also receive loans as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVMLP).

"This loan is an investment in America. It will help us put high-quality, affordable zero-emissions vehicles on our roads," said Dominique Thormann, senior vice president, Administration and Finance for NNA. "This project will expand our Smyrna plant and that's great economic news."

GM and Chrysler were not approved for loans early on because the government was questioning their viability.

Construction at Smyrna is scheduled to begin by the end of this year, after an environmental assessment is completed. Production is planned to start in late 2012.

Nissan is promising to offer electric vehicles with a full range of 100 miles in the US and Japan starting in 2010. The first production vehicles will be built in Japan, before production is shifted to the US.

"Nissan is confident that the Smyrna employees have the skill and dedication to take on this critical role in Nissan's future by launching a new form of transportation in the United States," said Susan Brennan, vice president, in charge of manufacturing at Smyrna. "This opens a new chapter in Nissan's 26-year manufacturing history in America."

The modifications of the Smyrna manufacturing plant include a new battery plant and changes in the existing structure for electric-vehicle assembly. When fully operational, the vehicle assembly plant will have the capacity to build 150,000 zero-emissions vehicles a year and the new plant will have an annual capacity of 200,000 batteries.

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