TOKYO: Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. plans to start producing electric vehicles in the United States, according to a newspaper report.

It would be the first time that a Japanese automaker mass-produced electric vehicles overseas, the Nikkei business daily said.

The company is seeking low-interest loans from the US government to develop green vehicles and plans to invest 50 billion yen (518 million dollars), which could rise to more than 100 billion yen depending on demand, the daily said.

Under the plan, Nissan will build electric-car assembly lines at a plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, the location of Nissan North America Inc.'s headquarters, the newspaper said.

This facility will be capable of churning out 50,000 to 100,000 of the eco-friendly vehicles a year by 2012, it said.

Nissan also intends to construct a production facility for high-capacity lithium ion batteries at the Smyrna site by linking up with Japanese computer giant NEC Corp.

In Japan, Nissan plans to assemble up to 50,000 electric cars a year starting in 2010, with some of these vehicles to be exported to the United States, the report said.

It also plans to mass-produce electric cars in Europe and possibly in China, hoping to raise its production to 200,000 units a year by 2012.