CACIA, Portugal — Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., has begun construction of a state-of-the-art, advanced lithium-ion battery plant in Cacia, Portugal to support the rollout of electric vehicles from the Renault-Nissan Alliance in Europe.

The battery plant is being built on a 30,450-square meter plot of land belonging to the Renault CACIA gearbox assembly plant following an investment of 156 million euros. The facility will start operations in December 2012 and will have a total capacity of 50,000 units a year. About 200 jobs are expected to be created by the new plant.

“The Cacia plant will be one of three facilities in Europe supplying batteries to electric vehicles produced by the Alliance, starting with the 100% electric Nissan LEAF. Together, the three plants will enable the Alliance to rollout electric vehicles in Europe on an unprecedented scale, bringing the world one step closer to a zero-emission future,” said Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga, speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Last April, Nissan began construction of a battery plant in Sunderland, United Kingdom, which will start operations in early 2012 with an annual capacity of 60,000 units. Renault’s Flins plant in France will produce batteries with a total production capacity of 100,000 units a year.

Philippe Klein, Renault’s Executive Vice-President of Corporate Planning, Product Planning and Programs, said “The inauguration of the Cacia battery plant is another concrete step in the electric mobility revolution spearheaded by the Alliance. The plant will supply batteries for one of the four electric vehicles in the Renault Z.E. range, Fluence Z.E., which will be launched in autumn 2011.”

Renault’s gearbox plant in Cacia, 244 km north of Lisbon, was chosen as the site for the new battery facility thanks to its easy access to road, rail, sea and air transportation. The project also benefitted from support from the Portuguese government who shares the Alliance’s vision for zero-emission mobility.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance aims to be a global leader in zero-emission mobility. By 2015, the Alliance will have the capacity to produce 500,000 electric vehicles and batteries at its plants around the world, making it the only automotive group in the world to build electric vehicles and batteries on this scale.

The Alliance is taking a comprehensive approach towards the mass-marketing of electric vehicles which encompasses both the product and the infrastructure. To date, Renault and Nissan have entered into more than 90 partnerships with governments, municipal authorities and companies around the world to put in place the necessary incentives and infrastructure for the successful adoption of such vehicles.

In 2008, Portugal became the first country in Europe to partner with the Alliance for zero-emission mobility. The country is building an extensive network of charging stations and this summer expects to have installed 1,350 units across the nation, including 50 quick chargers.

Nissan delivered nine Nissan LEAFs to the Portuguese electric mobility consortium MOBI.E and one to the Portuguese government in December ahead of the car’s official launch to individual customers in Europe shortly.
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