Nissan To Invest $250 Million In US Plant That Makes Leaf E-Motors

Nissan Motor Company CEO Makoto Uchida has announced a $250 million investment in the company’s US powertrain plant in Decherd, Tennessee, to support the electrification of its lineup.

While Uchida did not say when the investment will happen or detail what exactly it is for, he described the move as part of Nissan’s stepped-up US electrification plans as EVs become increasingly popular in America and government initiatives support that demand. 

The Decherd investment boosts Nissan’s new commitments to US electrification to $750 million after last year’s announcement of a $500 million investment to retool its Canton, Mississippi, assembly plant to build two all-electric sedans.

Those models, one for the Nissan brand, the other for Infiniti, are expected to enter production in 2025. Obviously, this means the automaker will have to build more electric motors for them, and that likely offers a clue regarding the Decherd plant investment. 

Nissan currently makes about 1.4 million internal combustion engines a year at its Tennessee facility as well as electric motors for the Leaf electric hatchback assembled at the nearby Smyrna factory. As Automotive News reports, it is reasonable to assume the new $250 million investment will expand e-motor output in Decherd.

Gallery: 2023 Nissan Leaf

The Nissan boss acknowledged that the global market for EVs is expanding faster than the company expected. In November 2021, Nissan forecast that half of its global sales will be electrified by the fiscal year ending March 31, 2031, with some 40 percent of its US volume to come from EVs.

The executive said the company now expects to exceed those targets in each market, including the US, which plays a major role in Nissan’s electrification strategy.

Uchida noted that regulations and government incentives such as those instated by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are helping spur EV adoption. For Nissan’s head honcho, the IRA “is maybe a challenge for us in the short term,” but in the future it will enable EVs to gain US market share. 

He added that more investment is to come in the US under Nissan’s previously announced plan to spend $15.58 billion (2 trillion yen) on electrification worldwide through 2026. The carmaker is expected to announce a revised US electrification target on March 31, 2024. 

The executive said Nissan’s US plan will center around pure EVs rather than e-Power hybrids, which aren’t as well suited for the high-speed, long-distance driving conditions in the US.

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