Nissan battery plant in Tennessee starts full operations

JIJI

Nissan Motor Co. said Wednesday that full-scale operations have begun at its plant for lithium-ion batteries in Smyrna, Tennessee.

The move is part of Nissan’s effort to boost sales of its Leaf electric vehicle in the United States. It also plans to produce the Leaf, currently made only in Japan, in the U.S. starting early next year.

Nissan has invested $1.7 billion in the battery factory, which has an annual capacity of 200,000 units.

Nissan and French partner Renault SA plan to achieve annual combined production in the U.S. and Europe of 500,000 batteries by 2015.