The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a grant to Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec), a provider of clean electric transportation and storage technologies. The grant, for $99.8 million, was given deploy electric vehicles (EVs). Federal matching funds will be used to design, deploy, and operate a mature charging infrastructure in support of future wide-scale deployment of EVs, and to evaluate the means to improve the effectiveness of this charging infrastructure.
The Project takes advantage of the early availability of the Nissan LEAF, a zero-emission electric vehicle, to develop, implement and study techniques for optimizing the effectiveness of charging infrastructure that will support widespread EV deployment. The Project will install electric vehicle charging infrastructure and deploy up to 1,000 Nissan battery electric vehicles in strategic markets in five states: Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington.
On August 2, Nissan introduced the LEAF, an electric vehicle and the world's first affordable, zero-emission car. Designed specifically for a lithium-ion battery-powered chassis, Nissan LEAF is a medium-size hatchback that comfortably seats five adults and has a range of 100 miles to satisfy real-world consumer requirements. The Nissan LEAF will launch in the U.S. in late 2010. U.S. production will begin in 2012, at Nissan's manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee.
"By studying lessons learned from electric vehicle operations and the infrastructure supporting these first 5,000 vehicles, the Project enables the streamlined deployment of the next 5,000,000 electric vehicles," said Don Karner, President of eTec. "Nissan's market leadership in electric vehicles affords us the unique opportunity to develop and study the charge infrastructure necessary to support the widespread deployment of EVs."
The Project will collect and analyze data to characterize vehicle use in diverse topographic and climatic conditions, evaluate the effectiveness of charge infrastructure, and conduct trials of various revenue systems for commercial and public charge infrastructure. With the goal of developing mature charging environments, the Project proposes to deploy charging infrastructure in major population areas that include Phoenix (AZ), Tucson (AZ), San Diego (CA), Portland (OR), Eugene (OR), Salem (OR), Corvallis (OR), Seattle (WA), Nashville (TN), Knoxville (TN) and Chattanooga (TN). To support the Nissan EV, the Project will install approximately 12,500 Level 2 (220V) charging systems and 250 Level 3 (fast-charge) systems.
It is anticipated that more than 750 new employment positions will be generated by the proposed Project by 2012. In supporting the market launch of the Nissan EV, it is expected that over 5,500 new positions will be in place by 2017 as a direct result of the proposed Project.