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Nissan constructing solar charging station for Leafs

Renewable energy will be powering Leafs and Nissan's Smyrna manufacturing facilities, which will build the EV and its battery pack starting in 2012.

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Nissan began construction on a 30-car solar charging station outside of the future Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant in Tennessee. The solar charging port is expected to be completed in July, and will use renewable energy to charge the Nissan Leafs that will be produced there in 2012. The Nissan Leaf and its 24 kWh lithium ion battery pack are currently manufactured in Japan.

When the solar car ports aren't being used to recharge EVs, the excess solar energy will help power Nissan's manufacturing facilities, according to a Nissan spokesman. Nissan did not release details about the energy capacity of the charging stations. A total of 125 solar charging stations are planned for Tennessee, according to a report by Nashville Public Radio.

General Motors is also using renewable energy to help build its extended-range electric vehicles. The manufacturer began construction on a 516-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.