WASHINGTON, D.C. ---  Nissan Motor Co. said it has applied for U.S. government loans to help it manufacture electric vehicles and develop the advanced batteries that power them.

According to Reuters, Nissan is the first Japanese automaker to seek loans from the U.S. Energy Department to facilitate its American manufacturing plans.

Nissan did not disclose the amount of its loan request, which was submitted in December but not disclosed publicly until this week, Reuters reported.

Nissan's plans include upgrading its assembly plant in Smyrna, TN, and building a new facility for battery production. The automaker plans to bring an electric car to the U.S. market by 2010.

"We are committed to the vision of energy independence, environmental sustainability, and the new energy economy, and we are hopeful that the U.S. Department of Energy approves this loan request," Nissan said in a released statement.