Nissan Will Spend $500 Million On Mississippi Factory For EV Production

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Nissan said in a press release last week that it will spend $500 million to make its factory in Canton, Mississippi, ready to produce electric vehicles. The company plans to make 40% of its US sales battery-electric vehicles by 2030. The Canton factory has been in operation for almost two decades and currently buildz Nissan’s Altima, Frontier, and Titan models.

After the upgrades, the company expects to manufacture two new battery-electric cars in Mississippi. Nissan’s Ambition 2030 program calls for bringing 23 electrified Nissan and Infiniti models — including 15 battery-electric vehicles — to market by 2030.

“Today’s announcement is the first of several new investments that will drive the EV revolution in the US,” said Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta. “Nissan is making a strong investment in Canton’s future, bringing the latest technology, training and process to create a truly best-in-class EV manufacturing team.”

The company says, “Ambition 2030 will deliver exciting, electrified vehicles and technological innovations. Taking account of critical environmental, societal and customer needs, Ambition 2030 underpins the company’s aim to empower mobility and beyond for a cleaner, safer and more inclusive world.

“Nissan has set the goal to achieve carbon neutrality across the company’s global operations and the life cycle of its products by 20501 by pursuing further innovations in electrification and manufacturing technology. As part of this effort, Nissan is targeting 40 percent of its U.S. vehicle sales volume to be fully electric by 2030, with even more to be electrified.”

Self-Charging Electric Cars

Nissan e-POWER EV
Image courtesy of Nissan

Overall, Nissan says it will invest $18 billion worldwide to catch up with the EV revolution it once led. That seems like a lot of money, but here’s the thing. It expects a lot of those “electrified” cars to use its e-POWER system, which is sort of like a Chevy Volt but without the plug. Here’s how Nissan describes it on its website:

“The e-POWER system offers full electric motor drive, meaning that the wheels are completely driven by the electric motor. e-POWER is comprised of a high-output battery and the powertrain which is integrated with gasoline engine, power generator, inverter and a motor. In conventional hybrid systems, the wheels are driven by an electric motor and a gasoline engine. However, in the e-POWER system, the gasoline engine is not connected to the wheels; it simply charges the battery. And unlike a full EV, the power source is the engine, rather than just the battery.”

In other words, it’s a “self-charging electric car” similar to the Toyota Prius. Hardly earth-shaking news for EV fans, sadly.

The Takeaway

All in all, the latest announcements from Nissan sound an awful lot like “me too” statements. $18 billion is nothing to sneeze at, but it is far less than companies like Volkswagen, Mercedes, Ford, GM, Hyundai, and Kia are spending. Competitors in China are also pouring billions into getting in front of the EV Revolution. Nissan’s commitment seems halfhearted somehow, like they are doing the least they can to stay in touch with the pack without having any plans to actually lead the EV revolution.

The new Nissan Ariya is a nice enough car, but we don’t hear anyone raving about it the we do the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. It’s an open question whether the Nissan/Renault alliance or even Nissan itself will still be viable by 2030, or whether it will join hundreds of other automakers in the dustbin of history.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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