Nissan and Renault Launch Battery Power Program

July 9, 2008
2008 Nissan Pivo2 Concept

2008 Nissan Pivo2 Concept

Bent on charging up the electric vehicle industry, Nissan and its French partner, Renault, have launched a battery power program in Portugal, the latest in a series of cutting-edge EV projects for the Japanese maker.

Portugal will be one of the first countries to market, starting in 2011 with a unique, all-electric vehicle, announced Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, during an appearance in Lisbon.

"Portugal has become a leading country in renewable energy. This agreement with Renault-Nissan will place Portugal also on the front line in terms of sustainable mobility with zero-emission vehicles. Promoting electric cars in Portugal will reduce our dependence on imported oil and will contribute to a cleaner environment," said Prime Minister José Sócrates.

The latest announcement follows Nissan's decision to launch pilot EV programs in Israel and Denmark. Those two countries are particularly attractive because of their small size and their desire to reduce the use of costly imported oil. Portugal has the added advantage that it has been making a major push into wind and other forms of "green" energy.

Meanwhile, Ghosn, who has declared electric power a top priority, is promising to put an all-electric vehicle on sale to U.S. fleet customers by 2011. Nissan hopes to open the market to retail buyers two years later.

"We believe the ultimate solution to sustainable mobility will be the mass availability of zero-emission vehicles," said Ghosn, during his meeting with Prime Minister Socrates.

Exactly what the new EVs will look like, Nissan officials aren't yet saying. They hint they will be unique and clearly recognizable vehicles, much as Toyota has created with its Prius hybrid. But they aren't likely to be quite as radical as the quirky little Pivo2, shown above, that Nissan introduced last autumn at the 2008 Tokyo Motor Show.

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