New, Zero-Emission Electric Vehicles to Reach San Diego Next Year

By dancurranjr On March 30th, 2009

nissan-sdge-san-diegoSan Diego County will become one of the nation’s first “plug-in” ready green regions and start the transformation into a clean transportation community with San Diego Gas & Electric’s landmark partnership announced today with Nissan Motor Co. and the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

As President Obama pushes energy independence by creating opportunities for renewable energy vehicles, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Nissan will accelerate the transition to all-electric vehicle fleets by studying ways to invest in the necessary charging infrastructure these cars utilize.

Local community leaders and fleet operators joined SDG&E today at the Port of San Diego for a test drive as Nissan unveiled a prototype that features its newest generation zero-emission vehicle technology at the first of several planned California stops. Nissan’s all-electric vehicle will be introduced to fleet operators in late 2010 and reach showroom floors by 2012.

Under the partnership, SDG&E will serve as the local San Diego coordinator to help assemble a critical mass of regional electric vehicle fleets that municipalities, universities, the military, the port, private fleets and others use daily. The public-private collaborative will work to further develop and fine-tune the charging infrastructure, which is the critical link in making the vehicles commercially viable.

“SDG&E’s partnership is another step toward making San Diego a national center for clean technology and green practices,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. “The public and private sectors in this region are working hand-in-hand to promote innovation and adoption of environmentally friendly technologies.”

As part of its commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from its vehicle fleet by 15 percent by 2012, SDG&E has a goal of replacing its passenger vehicles with compressed natural gas and electric vehicles. With today’s announcement, SDG&E will be adding 15 to 20 of Nissan’s new zero-emission electric vehicles to the utility’s current fleet of 200 alternative-fuel vehicles.

“The increased use of zero-emission electric vehicles in San Diego will help achieve our nation’s goals of energy independence and reduced greenhouse-gas emissions, and foster new jobs and opportunities in the region as we become a pioneer launch for these advanced vehicles,” said Debra L. Reed, president and chief executive officer of SDG&E. “The support and involvement of local government and private fleet operators will be crucial to our success in demonstrating San Diego’s continued leadership role in clean technology.”

In 2010, Nissan will introduce a five-passenger, compact all-electric passenger vehicle for fleet sales that is capable of achieving 100 miles on a single charge. Charging of the advanced lithium-ion battery is expected to take four to eight hours with a 220-volt line and also will be capable of charging through a standard 120-volt outlet. The vehicle will be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

“Nissan, through the Renault-Nissan Alliance, has committed to being a global leader in zero-emission vehicles,” said Dominique Thormann, senior vice president, administration and finance, Nissan North America. “Nissan and SDG&E have a shared belief that the introduction and expansion of electric vehicles is one of the best solutions to reducing CO2 emissions. This partnership is an important step in making zero-emission a reality in San Diego.”

SDG&E plans to collaborate with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and other local organizations to provide the critical mass needed to not only assess electric vehicle viability and charging infrastructure needs, but customer needs and education. With this investment, SDG&E expects to gain valuable insight into the impact of electric vehicles on the local electric distribution system, including customer charging habits, and to evaluate technologies that track a vehicle’s electric consumption so further investment can be warranted in the future.

“Increasing the supply of electric vehicles and creating infrastructure to better utilize renewable resources fits with SANDAG’s overall energy strategy for the region,” said Escondido Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler, chair of the SANDAG Board. “The strategy calls for reducing overall consumption as well as cutting our dependence on foreign oil — electric cars will help us accomplish those goals.”

Last year, SDG&E announced the results of a year-long study of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The plug-in hybrids showed a 60-percent increase in gas mileage and a 37-percent decrease in carbon-dioxide tailpipe emissions when compared with the original version of the hybrid vehicles. The early version of the hybrid vehicles already showed great reductions in these areas when compared with a conventional, gasoline-operated car.

SOURCE: Marketwire

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