As Nissan has let it slip also that a larger, but unspecified Leaf battery is on on its way for 2013, the company is also getting ready to assemble the EV’s electric motor in the U.S.
At present these motors are built in Japan, so building closer to source of production – in Decherd, Tenn., about 70 miles from the Smyrna assembly plant – is expected to simplify logistics, eliminate extra costs associated with dollar/yen valuations, and of course, will add to domestic U.S. employment.
Playing up what might otherwise be considered mundane, or at least might go unnoticed, Nissan noted each “eMotor” as it terms them contains more than one mile of copper wiring per unit it its windings.
As shown in the video, Nissan’s global trainer for eMotor production, Adam Reed, now has spent two, three-month stints at Nissan’s global headquarters in Japan learning how to build these motors.
“The winding takes place on a very complex piece of equipment,” said Reed. “It has two parts at a time traversing inside the equipment going in different directions. So it’s very hard to keep up with sometimes.” Reed supports a team in Decherd that is conducting production trials on the eMotor. Those motors will go in the 2013 Nissan LEAF, soon to be produced in Smyrna, Tenn.
Nissan says even with costs shaved by local production, assembly is a time and labor intensive process – and as we know time is money. In all, the company says around 25 people per shift are needed to do the job correctly for each motor assembly.
“It’s very exciting to get it started and knowing that when that first one [Leaf] comes off the line in Smyrna, we’re going to have our name somewhere on the motor that’s inside,” said Reed.