In March, SDG&E announced that San Diego County would become one of the nation’s first "plug-in" ready regions capable of supporting new all electric vehicles with its landmark partnership with Nissan Motor Co. and the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
In August, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded $99.8 million to Electric Transportation Engineering Corp (eTec), a wholly owned subsidiary of ECOtality, Inc. (OTCBB: ETLY), to implement an ambitious transportation electrification project in five markets, including San Diego. The California Energy Commission : also awarded eTec $8 million to support the infrastructure deployment in San Diego. With the two grants, eTec, with support from SDG&E and others, will deploy up to 2,250 charging stations, helping to position the San Diego region as the nationwide leader in electric vehicle infrastructure.
Local community leaders and SDG&E employees joined San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Escondido Mayor and Chair of the San Diego Association of Governments Lori Holt Pfeiler as Nissan and infrastructure development officials discussed plans for the roll-out of the Nissan all-electric vehicle and charging infrastructure in San Diego. The first 1,000 Nissan LEAF electric vehicles will be delivered to fleet operators and select members of the public in late 2010 and reach showroom floors by 2012.
As President Obama pushes energy independence by creating opportunities for renewable energy vehicles, 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.
Under the partnership, SDG&E is serving as the local San Diego coordinator to help assemble a critical mass of regional electric vehicle fleets that municipalities, universities, the military, the Port of San Diego, 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.
Integrating electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure is a key component of SDG&E’s smart grid initiative, which is meant to give customers more information about their energy usage, reduce outages, and better manage distributed renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy.
"This 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 by 15 percent from its vehicle fleet by 2012, SDG&E will be adding 15 Nissan new zero-emission electric vehicles to the utility’s current fleet of 200 alternative-fuel vehicles.
"As the region becomes a pioneer launch site for these advanced vehicles and the charging infrastructure, San Diego will continue on its course to become ‘plug-in ready’ and a national center for clean technology, fostering less dependence on fossil fuels, new ‘green’ jobs and a healthier environment," said Debra L. Reed, president and chief executive officer of SDG&E.
In late 2010, Nissan will begin delivering to fleet operators and select members of the public the LEAF, a zero-emission, all-electric five-passenger, compact vehicle capable of achieving 100 miles on a single charge. Charging of the advanced lithium-ion battery is expected to take eight hours with a 220-volt line and also will be capable of charging through a standard 120-volt outlet. The vehicle may be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.
"Nissan, through partnerships with SDG&E and others, is fast becoming a global leader in zero-emission vehicles," said Mark Perry, director of product planning and strategy of Nissan North America. "Nissan and SDG&E have a shared belief that the introduction and expansion of electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure 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 is collaborating with eTec, the San Diego Regional Clean Fuels Coalition and local organizations to provide the critical mass needed to not only assess electric vehicle viability and charging infrastructure needs, but customer needs and education. Over the next six months, charging station locations will be identified and initial infrastructure installation begun during the summer of 2010 with final infrastructure in place by spring of 2011.
"Increasing the supply of electric vehicles and creating the 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 San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). "The strategy calls for reducing overall consumption as well as cutting our dependence on foreign oil — electric cars will help us accomplish those goals."
The Nissan LEAF and several styles of electric vehicle charge units will be on display at the San Diego Alternative Fuels Education Day : November 21 at the Towne and Country Resort and Convention Center, which is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles. As California leads the nation in embracing renewable energy technologies, SDG&E embraces a vision that looks at transforming our energy grid without jeopardizing our commitment to exceptional customer to further enhance the region’s quality of life. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling.
More information on the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance, founded in 1999, sold 6,160,046 vehicles in 2007. The objective of the Alliance is to rank among the world’s top three vehicle manufacturers in terms of quality, technology and profitability.