By Éric Descarries

In 2003, giant Japanese automaker Nissan inaugurated its new plant in Canton, Mississippi. The first vehicle built there was the Quest minivan. Since then, Nissan has assembled some five million gasoline-powered pick-up trucks, crossover SUVs, vans and minivans.

Now, Nissan Motor Co. wants to dedicate this 4.7 million sq. ft. plant to the production of electric vehicles only. The transformation will cost the automaker more than US$500 million. The 5,000 or so employees will then be assigned to the production of electric Nissan and Infiniti sedans and CUVs, including sedans, by 2026, and CUVs in 2027 and 2028. At the same time, Nissan wants to reduce its reliance on energy-intensive machinery, so as to use as little energy as possible in the construction of its vehicles. For the time being, Nissan will begin production of its EVs with gasoline-powered Altima sedans, while production of large pick-up trucks will eventually be discontinued.

Ironically, Nissan, one of the first manufacturers to offer us an electric vehicle, the Leaf, has to pull out all the stops to catch up with the competition in the field of electrification.

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