Published October 25, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
Nissan is getting ready to assemble the Leaf’s electric motor in the U.S., in time for 2013 production of the electric vehicle.
The eMotor that powers the Nissan LEAF has more than one mile of copper wiring inside. Currently those motors are assembled in Japan. Soon, however, Nissan's eMotor will be produced in Decherd, Tenn., about 70 miles away from where Nissan will build the 2013 Nissan LEAF in Smyrna, Tenn.
Adam Reed, Nissan's globally certified trainer for eMotor production now has spent two, three-month stints at Nissan's global headquarters in Japan learning how to sculpt these motors.
It starts with winding copper wire to form the motor. The wire then conducts an electro- magnetic field to create rotational force and pull a vehicle.
"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.
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It does take more time for an electric motor to be assembled compared to a gas engine; and, Nissan says it takes about 25 people per shift to ensure an electric motor is made properly.
"It's very exciting to get it started and knowing that when that first one (Nissan LEAF) comes off the line in Smyrna, we're going to have our name somewhere on the motor that's inside," said Reed.