The Canton project is the first of several Nissan investments in EV and battery production in the U.S. over the next five years.
“We’re just getting started,” Nissan Americas Chairperson Jeremie Papin said at an event at the factory Thursday.
The Japanese automaker is making an $18 billion global betaking an $18 billion global bet on electrification over the next five years that includes developing solid-state batteries and delivering 15 battery-electric models by 2030.
Consumers are beginning to embrace electrification in key markets around the world, including the U.S., Nissan Motor Co. COO Ashwani Gupta said during the presentation.
“Nissan is prepared to capitalize on this interest,” Gupta said. “We will leverage our strong DNA and decades of of real-world EV experience.”
In its critical U.S. market, where EVs are viewed with greater skepticism, Nissan expects battery-only vehicles to account for 40 percent of its U.S. sales by 2030.
That's ambitious, given the automaker's sole electric product — the Leaf — accounted for a mere 1.5 percent of Nissan Group's U.S. sales last year.
Nissan's investment plans for new EV production in the U.S., so far, have been relatively modest.
Ford and General Motors have announced multibillion-dollar investments in domestic vehicle assembly and battery plants.
Toyota is investing $3.4 billion in the U.S. over the next nine years to develop and localize automotive battery production.
While it is still early in the EV revolution, Nissan is playing catch-up in announcing its strategy and scope of EV investment in the U.S., said Jeff Schuster, president of global forecasting at LMC Automotive.
"The next wave of EVs will shape how competitive Nissan will be in this space," Schuster said.