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As part of its drive to focus on sustainable technologies, advanced engineering and the zero-emissions vehicles of the future, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is opening a research lab in Silicon Valley, CA, right across the street from Google's headquarters. We suppose it doesn't hurt that Google recently put Leafs into its RechargeIT Gfleet.

In its official press release, the Renault-Nissan Alliance states that the facility will "build staff organically, to focus on specific projects and business developments as they emerge."

The Silicon Valley site is part of the automaker's $5.4 billion commitment to sustainable transportation and will play an integral role in information technology research, including graphical-user interface displays, in-car connectivity systems and smart grid research and development.

During a speech at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Renault-Nissan chief executive officer, Carlos Ghosn, boldly stated that:
The Alliance is at the vanguard of the auto industry's shift to sustainable transportation. Having a greater footprint in one of the world's headquarters for clean tech research will extend our lead further.
[Source: Nissan]
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Renault-Nissan Alliance opens Silicon Valley research office

The automotive group's Mountain View facility will focus on vehicle IT, advanced engineering research, and technology recruitment.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance will open a research office later this month in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Directly across from the Google campus and minutes from leading hardware and software companies, the offices in Mountain View will allow one of the world's largest automotive groups to capitalize on the region's world-class engineering talent and stay ahead of trends that are reshaping the way people interact with their cars.

The office will build staff organically to focus on specific projects and business developments as they emerge. Small, highly efficient teams will initially work on vehicle IT development, advanced engineering research and technology recruitment.

"The Alliance is at the vanguard of the auto industry's shift to sustainable transportation. Having a greater footprint in one of the world's headquarters for clean tech research will extend our lead further," said Carlos Ghosn, CEO and Chairman of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, who is giving a talk at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) today. Ghosn's "Clean Cars" presentation at Stanford will focus on how and why zero-emission technologies is leading to unprecedented opportunities in the auto industry and economy.

Created in 1999, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is a unique partnership between two of the largest automakers in Europe and Japan. Renault and Nissan, which together employ more than 350,000 workers, sold 7.2 million cars in 2010 – about one in 10 cars worldwide. Paris-based Renault and Yokohama-based Nissan collaborate through joint purchasing, platform sharing and cross-shareholding. They maintain separate brands and cultural identities.

$5.4 Billion Commitment to Sustainable Mobility
The Nissan LEAF, which debuted last year, is the world's first affordable, mass-marketed pure electric vehicle, and it's the first product from the Alliance's $5.4 billion investment in zero-emission cars. Upcoming debuts include an Infiniti premium electric sedan, the Renault Twizy urban commuter car for Europe, and utility vans for commercial fleets. All can be charged purely with renewable energy, for 100 percent zero emissions "well to wheel."

Nissan will use the Silicon Valley office to focus on vehicle IT research, including graphical user-interface displays, in-car Internet connectivity and smart-grid research. Nissan's "Carwings" telematics system, a standard in every Nissan LEAF, includes a seven-inch touchscreen with maps of recharging stations and real-time reports on energy consumption. Nissan has delivered more than 7,500 LEAFs worldwide.

Renault, one of the largest carmakers in Europe, will be launching a broad range of affordable, zero-emission cars for overseas markets. Renault Fluence ZE, which debuts later this year in Europe and the Middle East, has a folding floor that enables a battery swap in less time than it takes to fill a car with gasoline. The Renault Twizy ZE is a two-seat urban commuter car, and the Renault Kangoo ZE is a utility van that is convenient and cost-effective for deliveries and other fleet uses.

Renault's Silicon Valley work will focus on research and advanced engineering, in particular electric vehicles and their supplier and infrastructure ecosystem, on-board services and business development.

Renault-Nissan Alliance is a strategic partnership between Paris-based Renault and Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan. The companies have 350,000 employees and account for one in 10 new cars sold annually around the world. The Alliance is committed to developing a wide range of cars and trucks for consumers in every major price and size segment -- including low-cost cars, urban commuter cars, commercial vans, premium vehicles and SUVs. The Alliance is the global auto industry leader in sustainable transportation and the only car group mass-producing zero-emission vehicles. For more details, visit http://blog.alliance-renault-nissan.com/.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Months Ago
      "build staff organically, ......, as they emerge." Wow, scary stuff. Dr Moreau alive and well in Silicon Valley.!
      Ford Future
      • 3 Months Ago
      I salute the Management of Nissan. When you're in the billions of dollars in investment, you're betting you can Change the World. Apple invested 3 Billion Dollars just to ensure a supply of flat-panel screens for it's iPod. GE invested 500 million in a solar plant. Anyone at GE question their COMMITMENT to a Real Impact on the Market? With the Burning of the South, esp. Texas, it's about time. http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Ford Future
        I too applaud Renault-Nissan for working towards sustainable transportation. "Wired.com: Is Nissan still committed to a commercial fuel cell vehicle? Ghosn: Our whole approach is zero emissions. We are still testing and developing fuel cell cars because we believe we can’t have our zero-emissions approach based on one technology. Frankly, I don’t know, in 15 or 20 years, what will be the dominant technology. Fuel cells are a very promising technology, and we are working on it. But for the moment, we are going for [battery] electric vehicles." Great! Go for the low-hanging fruit first, and as other technologies mature, add them to the portfolio!
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Months Ago
          Yes very true. At the moment Battery technology seems the most promising EV energy storage facility, but who knows, Fuel Cells may become more viable, with time. Automotive energy storage techology is still very embryonic and radical progress is inevitable.