2010 Nissan Leaf EV - Click above for hi-res image gallery

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.


Related Gallery2010 Nissan Leaf EV



PRESS RELEASE:

NISSAN SUPPORTS ELECTRIC VEHICLE & INFRASTRUCTURE DEPLOYMENT PROJECT


Dept. of Energy Grant Helps Ready Markets for Zero Emissions

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (Aug. 5, 2009) – The U.S. Department of Energy today announced a grant for the largest deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure ever undertaken. Nissan is supporting the lead grant applicant, Electric Transportation Engineering Corp. (eTec), by pledging to make available up to 1,000 Nissan LEAF zero-emission electric vehicles in each of five major markets. Nissan, through the Renault-Nissan Alliance, is committed to being a global leader in zero-emission vehicles.

The $99.8 million grant to eTec, which will be matched by regional project participants for a project valued at approximately $199.6 million, is for installation of approximately 2,500 charging stations in each of the selected markets – Tennessee, Oregon, San Diego, Seattle and the Phoenix/Tucson region. The project also involves the deployment of up to 1,000 Nissan LEAF zero-emission vehicles in each market.

The project will collect and analyse data characterising vehicle use in diverse topographies and climate conditions, evaluate the effectiveness of charging infrastructure, and conduct trials of various revenue systems for commercial and public charging infrastructure. To test and analyse electric vehicle usage and charging patterns in a simulated, mature charging environment, the deployment of charging infrastructure will target major population areas.

"Nissan appreciates the support of the Department of Energy in helping jumpstart the electrification of the transportation sector," said Scott Becker vice president, Legal and General Counsel, Nissan North America. "This is a major step in promoting zero-emission mobility in the United States. Nissan is looking forward to partnering with eTec to help make electric cars a reality and to help establish the charging networks in key markets."

"This project will enhance America's leadership role in clean electric transportation and exemplifies the Department of Energy's strategic foresight and commitment to improving our environment, economy and energy independence," said Jonathan Read, president and CEO, ECOtality, parent company of eTec. "By developing a rich charge infrastructure in each market, this project will enable a successful consumer experience among early EV adopters and increase market demand for electric transportation."

Nissan on Aug. 2 introduced the Nissan LEAF, the world's first affordable, zero-emission car. Designed specifically for a lithium-ion battery-powered chassis, Nissan LEAF is a medium-size hatchback that comfortably seats five adults and has a range of 100 miles to satisfy real-world consumer requirements. The Nissan LEAF will launch in the United States in late 2010. U.S. production will begin in late 2012 at Nissan's manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tenn.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has begun zero-emissions vehicle initiatives in Kanagawa Prefecture and Yokohama in Japan, as well as in Israel, Denmark, Portugal, Monaco, the UK, France, Switzerland, Ireland, China and Hong Kong. In the United States, the Alliance is exploring ways to promote zero-emission mobility and the development of an EV infrastructure in the State of Tennessee, the State of Oregon, Sonoma County and San Diego in California, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., Seattle, and Raleigh, N.C.