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Nissan Secures $1.4 Billion In DOE Funding For 2011 Leaf EV

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2011 Nissan Leaf prototype

2011 Nissan Leaf prototype

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Nissan has become one of the first non-U.S. based automakers to receive funding from the Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program established back in 2007.

The program, which set aside $25 billion to help fund the development and manufacture of a new generation of hybrid and electric vehicle technologies, has so far funded the likes of Tesla and Fisker Automotive, as well as major domestic automakers like Ford, but now it's backing Japanese automaker Nissan and its 2011 Leaf electric vehicle.

There is a catch, however. The catch is that Nissan will build the Leaf at its plant in Smyrna, Tennessee and create some 1,300-odd U.S. jobs in the process. Additionally, Nissan will also use the plant to start building lithium-ion batteries.

Speaking at a press conference at the 2010 Washington Auto Show today, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu awarded Nissan with a $1.4 billion loan to support the modification of the Smyrna plant later this year to start building up to 150,000 Leaf EVs annually.

The 2011 Nissan Leaf is tipped to go on sale towards the end of the year and cost around $25,000 to $30,000, and according to the automaker it guarantees a range of over 100 miles on a single charge. Additionally, the zero-emission vehicle should provide reasonable performance, on par with other cars in the economy hatchback class, and its electric battery pack can generate output of up to 120 horsepower while its electric motor delivers 107 horsepower of output and 206 pound-feet of torque--figures typical of many smaller and medium-sized cars.

For more details, including driving impressions, check out our preview story by clicking here.

[Wired]

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Comments (8)
  1. I didnt hear any mention of this in the SOTU. All I heard was that we will green our economy and improve OUR economy. I guess Obama forgot to mention this little gift to Japan's economy.
     
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  2. That car looks pretty darn sweet
     
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  3. So i guess we now know the math. Every new job is worth to the US government $10m.Surely this is a good use of funds...
     
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  4. automaan, you are not seeing the bigger picture. The government is helping the U.S. to become a hub for electric vehicle production and expertise.
    I think you would be surprised how much profits actually stay in this country and is reinvested.
    A remember, this is a loan not a handout.
     
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  5. I hope this vehicle ends up being a realistic option, though with the short range and expected high price, its looking like all but the fairly well-off will have to wait a few more years for an affordable third-car EV.
     
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  6. Is this in addition to the $1.6 billion that Nissan received from the program last summer? Or is this a revised total? Either way, if these DOE loans can (a) help Nissan make the Leaf viable and affordable and (b) support manufacturing in the U.S., I'm all for it.
     
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  7. Look at the overall job picture. If each job in a manufacturing plant creates 9 jobs in the rest of the economy (This is a figure that I've heard widely reported) then the total #of jobs this loan indirectly creates is 13000. Figure the federal government collects $15000 in income and payroll taxes for each person (another assumption I just made up) and the taxes collected totals around $200 million. Pretty good investment if you ask me.
     
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  8. Richard Read is correct. This is not a new piece of news. This is the same $1.6 billion that Nissan was awarded in June.
    The actual news hook here, which should have been reflected in the story but doesn't seem to be, is that the loans have now CLOSED.
    Which means Nissan has the cash to spend on the plant renovations and construction. The award itself is old news.
     
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