Nissan Motor Co. said it will begin U.S. production of its all-electric Leaf on Thursday in Tennessee as part of a $1.4 billion government loan.
The Japanese automaker won an Energy Department loan in 2010 to build a battery plant in Smyrna, Tenn., and to retool to build the Leaf at its assembly plant next door.
The Leaf will be built alongside the company's gasoline-powered products.
Nissan says it is the only automaker that manufactures its own electric vehicle batteries, at the biggest lithium-ion automotive battery plant in the United States.
The Leaf's sales have struggled and the automaker failed to double sales in 2012 as it had predicted and instead sold about the same number as in 2011.
Last year, Nissan sold 9,819 Leaf EVs in the United States — up 1.5 percent over 2011.
This is three times the size of the loan to Solyndra and will end just as badly