Nissan Leaf Production Gets Underway

And so begins the early stages of the next chapter of the electric car revolution. Those are pretty much the thoughts running through my head as I type out this story about Nissan’s recent announcement of the beginning of production in Japan of its all-electric Leaf. The company, as it produces the cars, will begin exports to the United States in November, followed by shipments to Europe in December.

The Leaf will be produced at Nissan’s Oppama Plant along with popular gasoline models such as Nissan Juke and Nissan Cube. Nissan said part of the production line has been modified to mount battery modules at the stage of production where fuel tanks are traditionally installed, and motors and inverters are mounted at the point where engines are installed in gasoline-powered vehicles.

Nissan Leaf

image via Nissan

The Oppama plant, said Nissan, has an annual production capacity of 50,000 units. The Leaf will start production at the company’s U.S. Smyrna plant in late 2012 and at its U.K.-based Sunderland facility in early 2013. At full ramp up, Smyrna will have an annual production capacity of 150,000 units, and Sunderland will have a capacity of 50,000 units.

“This is a significant milestone, not only for Nissan and the Renault-Nissan Alliance, but also for the entire automotive industry,” said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn in a statement. “Consumers are clear. They want sustainable and affordable mobility…and the Alliance is leading the way with cars that deliver exactly that, with the reliability, excitement and performance that consumers demand. The high-quality, innovative Nissan Leaf will radically transform what consumers expect from automobile manufacturers worldwide.”

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I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.

  • Randall Hyman

    Just like the 2008 recesssion and the wall street/bank scams; nobody in DC will investigate this because people from both parties will go to jail:

    For each 1/2 MPG of improvement in vehicle efficiency per model of car, Detroit insiders lose 4 billion dollars in oil industry kickbacks. 100 MPG cars have been demonstrated for decades but Detroit has refused to make them because of the kickbacks. But now the insiders are switching to electric because oil is running out and causing too much cancer. BUT: A large part of the electric car projects are just a scam to get a certain group of VC’s to control the lithium fields in Afghanistan! He who controls the electric cars controls the trillions of dollars of lithium revenues. It is just like oil all over again. The U.S. Department of Energy had one guy, who George Bush appointed running $25B worth of taxpayer money. He was working with 3 other guys in this small group who gave the money only to hooked n car companies who they could control the battery orders for and thus control the Lithium profits. Steve Rattner has written his book: Overhaul to try to save his name and makehimself lok like a hero yet the SEC has charged him with investment fraud and bribery of officials. The press says he is a crook who operated for back-office investors like these:

    Dmitry Medvedev Came to Silicon Valley on June 22, 2010 and met with some of the venture capital companies that helped lobby the leverage for the electric car companies that just got funded. Only the car companies got funded that would play in this scheme.

    Ener1 Battery Systems who got zillions of the dollars from DOE per the Loan Guarantee and ATVM Director Seward.

    Is controlled in part by Russian “business man” Boris Zingarevich.

    Who is best friends with the Russian Dmitry Medvedev, who arranged for all of Russia to extend current agreements signed with foreign automakers between 2005 and 2008 granting preferential duties on imported components for eight years in return for sourcing 30 percent of parts locally, according to the Industry and Trade Ministry. Once those arrangements expire, the carmakers would need to commit to buying 60 percent of components in Russia within six years to get more tax breaks.

    Dmitry also appears to own interest in lots of Lithium processing and mining company technology in Russia which is pretty close to Afghanistan.

    Afghanistan is: the “Saudi Arabia’ of lithium”. American geologists have discovered huge mineral deposits (Many $1 trillion of dollars worth) throughout Afghanistan, according to the New York Times. Lithium, gold, cobalt, copper, iron, among other valuable minerals are lying beneath what is already a war-torn country with little history with mining. Off and on over the decades, geologists—Soviet, Afghan, American—would investigate and chart some of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, only to put the work on hold as violent conflict erupted. Now, corruption, in-fighting between the central and district governments, foreign interests, and greater zeal from the Taliban might come into play to disrupt a potential economy evolving around these natural resources. With the Ministry of Mines, a Pentagon task force is now helping organize a way of handling the mineral development and bidding rights. How this unfolds socially, environmentally and politically should be interesting.

    The New York Times reports: The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion. The two most prevalent minerals are copper and iron. Niobium, used for making superconducting steel, has also been found.

    The effort to get that money for Ener1 was strong armed by Republican Sen. Richard G. Lugar, one of the deans of Congress, and his junior colleague, Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.

    Richard Lugar and Lachlan Seward co-managed the Chrysler Bail-out.

    Lachlan Seward was appointed by George Bush to run all of the tens of billions for the DOE ATVM and Loan Guarantee Programs. He & Matt Rogers gave most of the money away to their closely aligned interests and negated competing applicants. –

    Another place near Afghanistan that there is lot’s of Lithium is in Mongolia. Blum Capital has targeted the Lithium fields in Mongolia, said to be the second largest fields after Afghanistan in the region. Mongolia touches Russia so mining and equipment access could first take place there via Russia. China wants the Mongolian Lithium too so there is some two-way bidding that each country (Russia and China) do not know about. The owner of Blum Capital is Senator Feinsteins husband. She recently made him the Goodwill Ambassador to Mongolia.

    Blum’s wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein, has received scrutiny due to her husband’s government contracts and extensive business dealings with China and her past votes on trade issues with the country. Blum has denied any wrongdoing, however. Critics have argued that business contracts with the US government awarded to a company (Perini) controlled by Blum may raise a potential conflict-of-interest issue with the voting and policy activities of his wife. URS Corp, which Blum had a substantial stake in, bought EG&G, a leading provider of technical services and management to the U.S. military, from The Carlyle Group in 2002; EG&G subsequently won a $600m defense contract. In 2009 it was reported that Blum’s wife Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to provide $25 billion in taxpayer money to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, a government agency that had recently awarded her husband’s real estate firm, CB Richard Ellis, what the Washington Times called “a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.

    Pan American Lithium Corp is led by Andrew Brodkey, CEO, President and Director – who has 25 years in the mining industry as a mining engineer, lawyer and senior executive with a focus on corporate legal and business development activities at major mining companies with an emphasis on Latin America, including Magma Copper Company and BHP Copper Inc. Mr. Brodkey also created the International Mining & Metals Group of CB Richard Ellis, Inc (“CBRE”). He and Mr. Blum work together on Lithium deals

    ” In 2009 the University of California Board of Regents, of which Blum is a member, voted to increase student registration fees (roughly the Univ. of California equivalent of tuition) by 32%. Shortly thereafter, Blum Capital Partners purchased additional stock in ITT Tech, a for-profit educational institution. These events suggest a conflict of interest on Blum’s part. Also see: http://la.indymedia.org/news/2010/09/242044.php and http://www.floppingaces.net/2007/04/02/the-silence-on-the-feinstein-c/ and http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/21/senate-husbands-firm-cashes-in-on-crisis/

    America “should” get all the Lithium before the competing empires get it but this private group of special interest manipulators should not get to take billions of dollars of taxpayer money to set themselves up with a personal arrangement at the expense of the taxpayers and the American companies they killed off by their manipulations. That is the bad thing that is happening here.”