published Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Nissan breaking ground on plant for Leaf battery

SMYRNA, Tenn. — Nissan North America Inc. is breaking ground on a lithium-ion battery plant as part of its plan to build electric cars and eventually create up to 1,300 jobs in Tennessee.

The battery plant at Smyrna is part of a $1.7 billion investment in the new battery plant and initial production of the all-electric Leaf starting in 2012. The investment includes a federal energy loan.

The 1.3 million-square-foot battery plant will also create about 250 construction jobs.

Gov. Phil Bredesen, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. President and CEO Carlos Ghosn and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman are scheduled to attend Wednesday.

Nissan currently has about 3,800 employees at the assembly plant in Smyrna.

The Japanese automaker's North America headquarters is at Franklin.

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