The fund will support the augmentation of Nissan's Tennessee manufacturing plant to produce the 'LEAF' zero-emission, all-electric vehicle and the lithium-ion battery packs to power them.
According to Nissan, the loan (originated through Department's loan guarantee program office) was issued as part of advanced technology vehicles manufacturing loan program, a $25b program authorized by Congress as part of Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The program is designed to develop vehicles and technologies which increase US energy independence, create cleaner means of transportation, and stimulate American economy.
Nissan said that the loan will result in creation of up to 1,300 jobs when the plants are operating at full capacity. The enhancement of Smyrna manufacturing plant, which will begin later this year, includes a new battery plant and changes in existing structure for electric-vehicle assembly.
When fully operational, the plant will have the capacity to build 150,000 LEAF electric cars per year and will have an annual capacity of 200,000 batteries.
Scott Becker, senior vice president of administration and finance at Nissan North America, said: "Nissan applauds the Department of Energy's support of the development of innovative, advanced vehicle technologies and the creation of clean energy jobs. 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."