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EV Project to showcase Nissan LEAF

Pilot project partnering with Nissan on plans for public charging stations announces expansion throughout five U.S. states, as key partner simultaneously touts EV use in China.

Nissan will begin taking orders for its LEAF EV in Spring 2010.

The EV Project, a pilot program to develop a nationwide public charging system for electric vehicles, is expected to give people an opportunity to inspect the Nissan LEAF EV more closely on Thursday and announce expansion plans that include San Diego.

The unveiling will take place at a press conference in San Diego and include representatives from San Diego Gas & Electric, the City of San Diego, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and Don Kramer, the president of Ecotality's subsidiary eTec.

Electric-charging station manufacturer Ecotality has received $100 million in stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and is one of the lead partners on the EV Project which will span 11 U.S. cities in five states: Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington.

While the company has been partnering with Nissan to make public charging options a reality in the U.S., Ecotality has repeatedly said its stations are designed to fit Society of Automotive Engineers standards so that they'll be compatible with any electric cars built to that standard.

Ecotality announced Wednesday that its CEO Jonathan Read is currently in China as part of a 40-person delegation accompanying U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. The group is taking part in the China Clean Energy Roundtable as part of President Barack Obama's visit to China.

Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao announced Wednesday a U.S.-China "Electric Vehicles Initiative" to encourage research and develop joint standards for electric transportation, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.