LaHood Visits Nissan Battery Facility, Says Tax Credit Reforms Are Coming

By · May 17, 2011

LaHood Smyrna

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited Nissan's plant in Smyrna, Tenn., today to check out construction of the carmaker's new $1.4 billion battery facility there. When it opens in 2012, the 475,000 sq.-ft. factory will be the largest of its kind in the United States, with a production capacity of 200,000 batteries per year. The secretary also took the opportunity to promote the Obama administration's efforts on behalf of electric vehicles, and to underline their importance in the face of rising fuel prices.

At the top of current agenda is reforming the $7,500 per vehicle consumer tax credit offered under the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Electric vehicle supporters have long called for the tax credit to be converted to a rebate, allowing buyers to take advantage of the discount at the point of purchase instead of having to wait as long as a year for their refund checks to arrive in the mail. Attempts to pass the change have been unsuccessful so far—due mostly to a gridlocked political climate—but LaHood said today he's optimistic that the reform will be part of the next tax bill to makes its way out of congress.

LaHood also reportedly said that the incentives could be in place "for as long as it takes to really motivate people to do this." Right now, the credit is limited to 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer, but the secretary's remark may indicate a feeling on the part of the administration that further help will be needed to get the nascent plug-in market off the ground.


· Norbert (not verified) · 7 years ago

This means the battery *and* the car are going to be built in Tennessee?

· Samie (not verified) · 7 years ago

Norbert hmm... Sounds true may be

Nissan production capacity of 200,000 batteries per year at the plant in Ten. and the credit is limited to 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer give or take a few thousand early Leafs.

Though it may sound like Nissan is just establishing a cap production for the next few years. Just because it can produce 200,000 batteries a year, they may not even come close to that...

· · 7 years ago

Yes, batteries will made in the Tennessee plant this is adjacent to where the LEAF (and other future EVs) will be assembled.

· · 7 years ago

I actually would like to comment on your previous article about rare earth metals, but for some reason I didn't find comment box on that article. So I will just comment here. Thanks for writing about the rare earth metals. In last couple of months I have been asked about this subject almost every time that I have given a presentation about EVs. I haven't had a really good answer for people, but based on the information you shared in that article, I did some additional learning and now I'm much better prepared when the subject comes up next time. Thanks.

· Pao Chi Pien (not verified) · 6 years ago

In analyzing the thermodynamic performance of an internal combustion engine, only the compression, combustion, and expansion processes affect thermodynamic performance. During the adiabatic compression process, mechanical work is transformed into internal energy of the working fluid. During the adiabatic combustion process, chemical energy in fuel is converted into heat energy which in turn is transformed into internal energy of working fluid. During the adiabatic expansion process, a portion of the internal energy of working fluid is transformed into mechanical work. The remaining internal energy of working fluid is lost through the exhaust gas. The increment in the internal energy dE of working fluid is equal to the difference between the increment of heat dQ accumulated by the working fluid and the increment of work done dW by working fluid.

dE = dQ – dW (1)

The compression work W done on working fluid from V0 to V is equal to the definite integral of pdV from V0 to V with p equal to p0(V0/V)k (Boyle’s law) the average value of pressure distribution throughout the volume. The work done W0 is zero at V0.

W = p0(V0)k(1/V)k-1/(k-1) (2)
E = p0(V0)k/(k-1)(1/V)k-1/J (3)
E2/E1 = (V1/V2)k-1 (4)
T2/T1 = cv2T2/ cv1T1 = E2/E1 = (V1/V2)k-1. (5)

Equation (2) is the mechanical work done on cylinder gas by a piston moving from V0 to V. Equation (3) is the internal energy E transformed from the mechanical work of Equation (2). The difficult question is what are the values of p0 and V0? This difficulty is overcome by taking the ratio of two internal energies at two different volumes to obtain Equation (4). Equation (4) is law of conservation of energy and can be applied to internal combustion engines, while Equation (5) is true only for ideal gas with cv2 = cv1.

For an adiabatic constant-volume air cycles, at the beginning of a compression process 1-2, E1 is known. At point 2, E2 is computed by Equation (4). There is an endless possibility of heat release curves for the same Q. Because E is a state variable, it depends only on the state of gas and not on any process that produces that state. In other words, E3 depends on V3 alone. Traditionally,  of an air cycle is computed based on work balance. Work balance requires Wc = cv(T1-T2) and We = cv(T3-T4). These two equations are true only for ideal cycles (having constant cv). For an engine cycle, E3 of working fluid consists of two parts. The first part is transformed from work done during a compression process, and the second part from Q is transformed from fuel chemical energy during a combustion process. E4 is the part of internal energy not transformed into work. By definition  = (E3 – E4)/E3. Utilizing internal energy balance not only meets the law of conservation of energy, but it is also much simpler to calculate.

It is clear that indicated efficiency is a function of Rc,  and Re. These three parameters are independent from one another. The compression ratio Rc controls the required compression temperature. Equivalence ratio controls the combustion temperature and thus controls the NOx formation and heat loss to coolant. The expansion ratio Re controls indicated efficiency . The higher the compression temperature, more completely the fuel burns, but the temperature should not be high enough to cause pre-ignition. The higher the , the higher is the power density, but it should not be high enough to produce NOx or too much heat loss to coolant. The higher the expansion ratio, the larger is the indicated efficiency  but it should not be too high to reduce geometrical efficiency excessively. Based on these considerations, engine designers can choose appropriate combinations of these three parameters for developing new reciprocating engines to achieve the maximum possible fuel efficiency with minimum emissions.

As an example, three values 14.5, 0.334, and 16 are chosen for Rc,, and Re respectively for this discussion. Figure 1 below shows the diagram E versus V. At the beginning of a compression process 1-2, E1 = 95.73 (average absolute temperature of ambient air times cv). At point 2, E2 = 290.0 computed by Equation (4) T2 = E2/cv =942.8, and p2 = 713.0. At point 3, E3 = E2 + 400 = 690, T3 = E3/cv = 2242.0 and p3 = p2(T3/T2) = 1696.0. At point 4 for V4 = V1, E4 = E3(V3/V1)k-1 = 227.6. The indicated efficiency  is equal to (E3 – E4)/E3 = (690 – 227.6)/690.0 = 0.670. By keeping one-third of exhaust gas in the cylinder, the internal energy of 0.67(1.0 - 0.67)/3 can be added to Q in the ensuing cycle to increase indicated efficiency from 0.67 to 0.744. For the expansion process of a GDI engine at k value of 1.3 has been taken. For new cycle at k is 0.38 (0.889 x 1.4 + 0.111 x 1.3).E4 = E3(V3/V4)0.38 = 240.6, and  = 0.651, a 34.9% (1- 0.561) of fuel chemical energy is lost in the exhaust gas.

Figure 1

The indicated efficiency of a constant-volume adiabatic air cycle 1-2-3-4-1 having a compression ratio of 10.0 is computed for comparison. At point 2, E2 = 240.4, T2 = 781.2, and p2 = 369.2. At point 3, E3 = E2 + 1200 = 1440.4, T3 = E3/cv = 4680.0, p3 = 2212.0. At point 4, E4 = E3(V3/V4)k-1 = 573.4 nt = (1440.4 – 573.4)/1440.4 = 0.602. For GDI engine cycle at k is 1.3 and E4 = E3(V1/V4)0.3 = 721.9 and  = (1440.4 – 721.9)/1440.4 = 0.50; 50% of fuel chemical energy is lost in the exhaust gas. By increasing the expansion ratio from 10.0 to 16.0 and reducing the fuel equivalence ratio from 1.0 to 0.334, the fuel chemical energy lost in the exhaust gas is reduced from 50% to 34.9%. This reduction of 15.1 percentage points is the result of adiabatic air cycle computation based on conservation of energy law and is achievable.

Traditionally, brake efficiency is defined as the product of indicated efficiency and mechanical efficiency without taking account of heat loss to coolant during combustion. To meet the conservation of energy law, brake efficiency is defined as the difference between the indicated efficiency and the sum of exhaust gas internal energy, direct heat loss, and friction loss. The direct heat loss and friction loss are very difficult to compute. They are estimated from the combustion temperature and pressure. The internal energy of exhaust gas of GDI engine is 0.50. For an assumed brake efficiency of 0.25, the sum of direct heat loss and friction loss is 0.25 (0.50 – 0.25). Operating at T3 and p3 are 4680.0 and 2212.0, respectively. For the new engine operating at T3 and p3 are 2242.0 and 1361.0, respectively. The combustion chamber wall temperature is about 360. Heat loss to coolant is proportional to the difference between combustion temperature and combustion chamber wall temperature. The ratio of these differences is (2242 – 360)/(4680 – 360) = 0.44. The friction loss is roughly proportional to a pressure ratio of 0.62 (1361.0/2212). About one-third of 0.25 is due to friction loss. The estimated sum of direct heat loss and friction loss for the new engine is equal to 0.25x0.44x0.666 + 0.25x0.62x0.334 = 0.125. Then for the new engine, the brake efficiency is 0.526 (0.651 – 0.125). The brake efficiency ratio between the GDI engine and new engine is 47.5% (0.25/0.526). The specific fuel consumption and GHG of the new engine are both reduced to less than one half of that of the GDI engine. Therefore, there is no urgent need for electrification to replace the conventional internal combustion engines.

· Annie (not verified) · 6 years ago

I agree with this LaHood in that they should be keeping these incentives in place for as long as it motivates people to go this route. Even if the customers don't get their tax credit until a year after their purchase, it is still a large sum of money that they are getting. I would be interested in seeing what kind of corporate tax credits could be formed to provide incentives for large companies to go this route as well.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.