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Jan 292010
(Photo: Nissan)

(Photo: Nissan)

From Green Right Now Reports

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced today that the Department of Energy has made a $1.4 billion loan to Nissan North America that will pay for the modification of the automaker’s Smyrna, Tenn., manufacturing plant to produce the new all-electric Nissan LEAF.

In addition to producing the zero-emission EV at the existing plant, a newly built plant will make the lithium-ion battery packs to power the next-generation car.

Nissan said the loan will result in the creation of up to 1,300 jobs when the plants are operating at full capacity. Modification of the Smyrna manufacturing plant, which will begin later this year, includes a new battery plant and changes in the existing structure for electric-vehicle assembly. At full capacity, the vehicle assembly plant will be able to build 150,000 Nissan LEAF electric cars per year. The new plant will have an annual capacity of 200,000 batteries.

The loan is part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, a $25 billion program authorized by Congress as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The program is designed to accelerate the development of vehicles and technologies that increase U.S. energy independence, create cleaner means of transportation and stimulate the American economy.