Nissan LEAF Battery Production Begins in Tennessee
Nissan's lithium-ion battery production facility in Tennessee switched from idle to production-mode in late October and is now producing batteries that will soon power the upcoming 2013 Nissan LEAF. As we reported, the launch of production took place without the fanfare that has, until now, given a celebratory mood to EV milestones.
For 2013, all US market LEAFs will run off the line in Smryna, Tenn. This will mark the start of a new era as Nissan will, for the first time, produce lithium-ion batteries, electric motors and complete electric vehicles in the US. In fact, the various production sites for the major components are located within close proximity—less than 70 miles—of one another in central Tennessee.
The arrival of the US-built LEAF is much anticipated, primarily because it could mean that a less expensive LEAF with more range will debut in 2013. As we reported, Nissan of Japan announced a number of changes for the 2013 LEAF, including reduced pricing—approximately 12 percent less—for a stripped-down version, and a 15-percent boost in range.
Although that announcement only directly applies to Japanese market Nissan LEAFs, most of the 2013 alterations are expected on LEAFs sold across the globe. Nissan USA is not yet divulging specifics about the Model Year 2013 LEAF.
"Specifications for the Model Year ’13 Nissan LEAF in Japan were released on November 20 and apply only for that model designed for the Japanese market," said Travis Parman, a Nissan spokesperson, in a statement to InsideEVs. "Information on the 2013 Nissan LEAF in the US will be released closer to its on-sale date here. As with prior model year LEAFs, specifications between markets are unique. Ratings such as range differ based on the governmental testing procedures in individual markets."
Parman said pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date, which will be in Q1 2013—indicating that 2013 LEAF will be available before March 31, 2013. The changes and new prices are designed to help put LEAF sales back on track, after sales that have fallen short of expectations created by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.
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