Nissan North America Inc. announced Tuesday it has donated two Nissan LEAF cars and three charging stations to Middle Tennessee State University to promote the use of electric-vehicle technology.
MTSU officials said the Nissan LEAF cars will be added to the university’s motor pool and the charging stations will be made available for use by students, faculty, staff and visitors to the Murfreesboro campus.
“As Nissan and MTSU are two of the largest employers in Rutherford County, our future and success are, in many ways, intertwined,” university President Sidney A. McPhee said. “This is a significant expansion in the relationship we have enjoyed with Nissan.
“It is another step in building a stronger partnership between our two organizations. We look forward to learning more about Nissan’s innovations in electric-vehicle technology by putting these vehicles to work for our university.”
Nissan’s Rutherford County plant in Smyrna, one of its three production plants in the United States, opened in June 1983. The vehicle assembly plant has an annual production capacity of 550,000 vehicles and represents a capital investment of $2.5 billion.
Nissan will produce the LEAF in Smyrna by the end of the year and plans to open a new plant there this fall to produce lithium-ion batteries – the first facility of its kind in the U.S.
Kevin Martin, director of Nissan Parts Quality Engineering, said the MTSU donation “builds on the long-standing relationship between Nissan and MTSU, and it points to our mutual passion for quality—both in engineering and in education.“
“We hope that the innovation behind the Nissan LEAF inspires MTSU students interested in advanced technology,” Martin said.
Martin said the Nissan LEAF is 100 percent electric and available in all states. Its features include:
• Nissan developed many of the interior fabrics from recycled materials (such as plastic water bottles);
• LED headlights (use about half the energy of traditional headlights);
• the available solar-panel spoiler converts sunlight to energy, charging the 12V accessory battery and powering accessories like the interior lights and entertainment system; and
• inside the city, the Nissan LEAF gets the equivalent of 106 miles per gallon, can reach a top speed of about 90 mph and has an estimated range of up to 100 miles on a full charge.
The automaker also donated a Titan pickup truck to the university, Martin said.
Headquartered in Franklin, Tenn., NNA coordinates all operations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico including automotive styling, consumer, and corporate financing and engineering. About 370 of Nissan’s employees are MTSU graduates, company officials said.
Nissan first came to the United States to sell vehicles in 1958 and began importing and making Datsun vehicles in the United States under the Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation name in 1983.
In 1990, Nissan North America Inc. was created to coordinate all of Nissan's various activities in North America to enhance the design, development, manufacturing, and marketing of Nissan vehicles. In 1998, the two organizations merged operations under the Nissan North America, Inc., name.