Nissan is going solar at its some of its Tennessee facilities as the automaker announced today it will be installing clean energy powered charging stations designed to charge its Leaf electric car. The 30 chargers at the two Tennessee facilities, the company said, mark the latest in a long line of dedicated investments totaling $3.5 billion over the course of Nissan’s statewide, 30-year presence.
The 30 chargers in question will be installed at Nissan’s Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant and Franklin, Tenn. headquarters. They will be operational for use by Nissan employees and visitors by July 1 and will make use of the same lithium ion battery cells the Leaf uses, allowing for studying the battery’s storage capacity as well as to demonstrate the second-life use for lithium-ion batteries beyond their use in automotive applications.
Nissan said it is working with the U.S. Dept. of Energy, which is funding the stations through a matching grant, as well as Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority, with which Nissan will share usage and technical data from the solar chargers for further study.
The 30 year presence referenced earlier by Nissan also incorporates plans to build the Leaf and the batteries that power it at its Smyrna manufacturing complex. The advanced, lithium-ion battery plant is 75-percent complete with an expected operational date of late next year.