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Nissan Readies eMotor Production For LEAF In The US (Video Proof)

5 years ago by Jay Cole 7

Winding Of Copper Wire To Make Nissan's eMotor

Currently, the eMotor (who even knew Nissan called it that?) inside the LEAF is produced in Oppama, Japan.  However that production, along with the bulk of the rest of the production of the electric car, will be moving to Tennessee quite shortly.

Nissan LEAF Motor Assembly Machines Do....Some Stuff (click to enlarge)

And while the US-made eMotor will not be produced alongside the car in Smryna, TN, it will be made close by, about 70 miles away in Dechard, TN.  Trials of which are currently underway. (video below)

Nissan says that making these eMotors is no easy task, and it takes more people and man-hours to produce than a standard petrol engine.

Up to 25 people are involved in the process that requires winding over 1 mile of copper wiring to form the motor.  The wire then conducts an electromagnetic field to create rotational force and pull a vehicle.

“The winding takes place on a very complex piece of equipment,” said Adam Reed, Nissan’s globally certified trainer for eMotor production. “It has 2 parts at a time traversing inside the equipment going in different directions.  So it’s very hard to keep up with sometimes.”

Commercial production of the eMotor is expected to be ready for the start of Smyrna’s production of the Nissan LEAF in December, so every US assembled LEAF, will have a US-built motor.

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7 responses to "Nissan Readies eMotor Production For LEAF In The US (Video Proof)"

  1. Brian says:

    “Nissan says that making these eMotors is no easy task, and it take more people and man-hours to produce than a standard petrol engine.”

    Could you elaborate on this? Electric motors are significantly less complex than “petrol” motors (I thought this was supposed to be in the US? Why are we calling it petrol?). The only real reason I can think of is that the automation for these motors isn’t as well developed. Yet. But that should change in time. In fact, with this huge investment on Nissan’s part, why aren’t they automating this?

    Any follow-up information is greatly appreciated.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      It is my understanding that the automation process involved with producing a electric motor, while relatively straight forward, is a lot more time consuming both for machine and the people “nannying” the process by up to 50%.

      In terms of overall cost, the electric engine is still cheaper on average…as compared to even a basic 4 cylinder engine. Without automation it would be very much the other way around.

      As to why I use the word “petrol”, I really can’t say why. I just like too, (=

      1. kdawg says:

        Sounds like they need more automation. You should see the automation to crank out engine blocks & engine assemblies. There are other motor manufacturers in the US, but they are not making the size & # of the motors for something like the Leaf.

        One thing I did notice from the video, is that they went pretty much with Japanese automation. Fanuc robots are used, and the interviewee said they had to travel to Japan to learn the automation. I think they should have let a US company set up the automation here in the US. It probably would have been much simpler, and used local parts vs. shipping stuff from the other side of the world. Not to mention local support. Ahh, but that is not the Japanese way…

    2. I believe the biggest reason for the extra manpower is the process is quite new to Nissan. Nissan has had over 100 years. They have been making electric motors for 2 years. It can take time to perfect a manufacturing process. I have no doubt they will get much better. Just give them a little time.

  2. Funny they call it the eMotor. BMW calls the motor they are using in the ActiveE and soon to use it in the i3 & i8 the “electric machine”

  3. Bill Howland says:

    Yeah, agreed with most of the other posters.. I don’t see why Nissan didn’t contract out the AC motor manufacture to AOSmith, Baldor, Reliance, Leeson, or any one of a number of fine, high efficiency motor manufacturers. It has a permanent magnet rotor in it, but then so do the cooling tower direct drive Baldor motors. That would be a very low cost solution. Perhaps, they want to do everything in -house. Hopefully they’ll keep up the production.

    1. Stuart22 says:

      Maybe it’s all smoke and mirrors. I’m still skeptical about USA production for the LEAF. Lack of local outside suppliers for the motor could be a sign that Nissan is still on the fence with the LEAF as to whether to pull the plug on it or not. If sales don’t break out of three digit territory with consistency, expect delays to happen.

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