Renault-Nissan Alliance Signs Zero-Emission Partnership with Miyazaki Prefecture

"Miyazaki is committed to promote renewable energy through the introduction of the ‘Miyazaki Solar Frontier Vision’ in March," said Miyazaki Governor Hideo Higashikokubaru. "Through this partnership with Nissan to promote electric vehicles, we hope to expand the potential of solar energy in order to achieve a truly low-carbon society."

"Mass adoption of electric cars is key to creating a sustainable low-carbon society, and it is essential for us to work with public and private stakeholders to achieve success," said Toshiyuki Shiga, Nissan Chief Operating Officer. "Miyazaki Prefecture, a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful natural attractions, is ideally suited for the promotion of all-electric, zero-emission vehicles."

The Renault-Nissan Alliance aims to be a global leader in zero-emission mobility. To date, the Alliance has signed zero-emission partnerships with more than 30 governments, municipalities and companies worldwide. Nissan will introduce the LEAF electric car in Japan, the United States and Europe in 2010 followed by global mass marketing in 2012.

The zero-emission partnership will initiate a joint-study to implement all the necessary conditions for the mass introduction of electric vehicles, primarily focused on the following areas.

1. 1) Educational program
* – Study the potential to implement EV trial amongst the residential community, and monitor the progress and acceptance of EVs
* – Create opportunities for the public to experience the electric car through exhibitions, test-drive programs or in conjuction with other community events.
2. 2) Promote EVs in the Business Sector
* – Promote the use of EVs, particularly in the eco-tourism sector
* – Create environmental and energy area educational programs, and educate employees in EV-related business sectors
3. 3) Promote mass adoption of EVs
* – Develop a charging system that utilizes electricity generated from renewable solar energy
* – Develop the necessary infrastructure for chargings stations
* – Create more dialogue opportunities to encourage more private sectors to adopt EVs
* – Study the implementation of an incentive system for EVs
4. 4) Impact Assessment Study
* – Study the feasibility and acceptance level for EVs within the community
* – Study the feasibility to cooperate on the "Miyazaki Solar Frontier Vision" as proposed by the Miyazaki Prefecture

Nissan Motor Co will keep the price of its upcoming battery-powered Leaf competitive with similar-sized cars and expects to make money on the vehicle despite the cost of its launch, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said on Friday.

The five-passenger hatchback, which is being designed to have an all-electric range of 100 miles (160 km), would cost only 1%-2% more than traditional combustion engine vehicles in its class, he said.

"On the pricing of the vehicle it is too early to say, but there will be no surprise," Ghosn said. "We know it will be the key to the mass market."

Nissan has not disclosed pricing on the Leaf, but has said it expects the car to be the first affordable, mass-market electric car when it goes on sale in the United States, Japan and Europe by the end of 2010.

Nissan has bet heavily on electric cars and expects that by 2020, 10% of the world car market will be for electric vehicles. Nissan’s rivals have pushed competing battery-powered technologies. Toyota Motor Corp dominates the market for traditional hybrids and has floated plans for a broader range of vehicles under the Prius name.

Others, such as General Motors Co and Fisker Automotive, are banking on plug-in designs that rely on batteries for short drives but also include a gasoline-powered generator to recharge the battery on longer trips.

Ghosn, who also leads Nissan’s controlling partner Renault SA, said the key to bringing down the cost of producing electric cars would be to spread development costs across up to eight vehicles for the two companies.

"We think this technology is a technology we control, but we need scale. And that is why today we are building an overall capacity between Renault and Nissan of 500,000 cars and batteries a year that we are installing between the United States, Europe and Japan," Ghosn told reporters.

"Hopefully, we are going to move upward. Because it is not about one car, it is about four cars for Nissan and four cars for Renault."