Nissan will build motors for the electric Leaf at its engine plant in Decherd, Tenn., starting in early 2013 as the automaker expands production.
The plant will be able to make up to 150,000 electric motors a year. It currently makes engines and components for Nissan vehicles built in North America, and also houses engine casting and forging operations.
New production at the site will be added to current production in Japan, said company spokesman Steve Parrett. He said locating the work at Decherd is not related to the March disaster in Japan.
More than 4,000 Leafs have been delivered to customers in the United States. The price of the 2012 Leaf that goes on sale this fall is about $2,500 higher than this year at $35,200 for the SV trim level, Nissan has said.
A $7,500 tax credit could reduce the starting price to $27,700.
The Decherd plant expansion is being funded with a loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage advanced technology, the company said Wednesday. The Japanese automaker was not announcing the amount of the loan, Parrett said.