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Production will almost double from 54,000 to 90,000 per year

With pre-orders for the Nissan Leaf closely approaching 20,000, Nissan and joint venture Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), the battery developer for electric and hybrid vehicles, are almost doubling production of lithium-ion batteries from 54,000 to 90,000 per year. 

To accommodate this increase in production, AESC is adding another production line in its facility in Zama, Japan especially for additional manufacturing of li-ion batteries. In addition to the Leaf, Nissan will be launching three other electric vehicles over the next few years and Renault will be launching four more, which calls for an increased amount of batteries and makes the extra production line a necessity.

Nissan, NEC Corporation, and NEC TOKIN Corporation joined together to make AESC in 2007 to develop and manufacture batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. AESC has created batteries with "thin, laminated lithium-ion cells housed in a flat assembly beneath the floor" and "is intended to accept several rapid charging scenarios including a 50 kilowatt 'fast charge' which gives 80% charge in 30 minutes, or a five minute fast charge which delivers an additional 31 miles of range." In addition, reports show that the batteries for the Leaf only cost $375 per kilowatt, which is a $9,000 battery pack. 

Originally, Nissan's President and CEO Carlos Ghosn announced in early May that the Leaf and seven other electric vehicles from Renault-Nissan will "be backed by battery production capacity for 500,000 EV's per year."

"No other automaker will be producing electric batteries or cars at such a scale. And customers are ready," said Ghosn. "To date, 130,000 consumers in the U.S. have registered their interest in buying a Nissan Leaf. With sales starting this December, 13,000 pre-orders have been submitted in just over one month in the U.S. and Japan, largely driven by individual customer demand. This amount already surpasses our available production capacity for fiscal year 2010."

Ghosn added that production will only reach 500,000 if demand is strong. Currently, pre-order sales are at approximately 19,000.

With features on the Leaf such as a 100 mile range per charge on an 8 hour recharge time lithium-ion battery, prices as low as $32,780 (before a $7,500 federal tax credit) and even a "whistle" that alerts pedestrians when the vehicle is driving at low speeds, Nissan has high hopes for their new electric vehicle.





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