Nissan recently announced a partnership with the city governments of the Tucson Metro Area and the Pima Association of Governments (PAG), a nonprofit metropolitan planning organization in the Tucson area, to help them prepare for the anticipated wave of electric cars.
Most of the market research to plan and implement an EV-charging network will be done by ECOtality, a clean-electric transportation and technology company in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Part of Nissan's role will be to help PAG acquire electric vehicles. Nissan has been promising to come out with an all-electric car in late 2010, although it won't say what it is. Nissan has been adamant that the electric vehicle will not be the prototype electric Cube that was displayed in car shows last year, but it has committed that the car will be able to get up to 100 miles on a single charge. The five-passenger compact car will be about the size of a Sentra.
The new electric car will be equipped to handle the next-generation of 440-volt fast-charging stations, says Nissan spokesperson Katherine Zachary. The fast-charging stations are able to charge Nissan's electric car in 26 minutes and will be critical to extending transportation corridors and easing consumer fears of being stranded for hours with a drained battery.
Nissan has similar partnerships with the states of Tennessee, Oregon, and with Sonoma County in California. Part of how Nissan chooses its partners is by identifying active communities with an environmentally interested consumer base. The partnerships help to facilitate and educate businesses and consumers about installing charging stations, either in home or at work.
Nissan recently applied for a loan with the Department of Energy to help it build a lithium ion battery manufacturing plant in Tennessee, where the carmaker's North American operations are based, to help it lower the cost of producing batteries for its electric and hybrid vehicles.