Nissan is wasting little time planning for the release of its Leaf electric car. Perhaps the details of the car's U.S. launch were so slim at launch is because Nissan was waiting for the official announcement of the Obama administration's $2.4 billion investment into electric vehicles and the infrastructure needed to support them, $99.8 million of which has been awarded to eTec, a division of ECOtality that specializes in electric vehicle charging systems.
That sum of money (to be matched by "regional project participants") will allow eTec to install 2,500 EV charging stations in the states of Tennessee and Oregon, along with San Diego, CA; Seattle, WA; and the Phoenix/Tucson region in Arizona. Of course, chargers aren't any good without any vehicles to use them, so Nissan has pledged to support the project with up to 1,000 new Leaf EVs in each of these selected markets.
This announcement puts retail sales of the upcoming Leaf two years ahead of the previously planned schedule. Nissan hopes to gather information on the charging patterns of these initial 5,000 Leaf owners, so buyers will need to agree to carry an on-board data logger that will be monitored by the automaker and the U.S. Department of Energy. Click past the break for the official press release.