Hoekstra is a senior scientist with The Nature Conservancy. Steele is a small business owner. They live in Seattle. Hoekstra and Steele are customers of Seattle City Light, the first electric utility in the country to become carbon neutral. Since 2005, Seattle City Light has achieved net carbon neutral carbon dioxide emissions, every year.
"Electricity is the new fuel for cars, and the Nissan LEAF has the potential to transform the automotive industry and the way people drive," said Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas. "Starting today, drivers in Seattle have the freedom to choose a future that produces zero tailpipe emissions, moves away from our dependence on fossil fuels, and represents the end of trips to the gas station. This Nissan LEAF delivery signifies the dawn of a movement that brings sustainable mobility to within our grasp."
For more than two years, Nissan has been working in collaboration with the City of Seattle to foster the development of electric vehicle-friendly policies and an EV-charging infrastructure.
"We need to give people sustainable transportation choices in our city," said Mayor Mike McGinn. "With rising fuel prices and the threat of global warming, we need to move fast to support these better choices. And supporting Nissan’s effort to sell electric vehicles in Seattle moves us closer to that goal."
Seattle and King County comprise a primary launch market for the Nissan LEAF, as well as a participant in The EV Project, a research and charging infrastructure deployment project. The largest of its kind ever undertaken, The EV Project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and administered by electric-vehicle charging company ECOtality.
"With today’s delivery of the first mass-produced, all-electric vehicle to King County, and with other companies to follow, this could be the beginning of a new era, where electric vehicles provide a credible share of our transportation need," said King County Executive Dow Constantine, who late last year test-drove a prototype Nissan LEAF when it was brought to Seattle. "We’re replacing some of the smaller, aging vehicles in our Vanpool and motor pool programs with 35 Nissan LEAFs over the course of the next year, and we’re working with many partners throughout the region to install charging stations."
The Seattle delivery is part of more than a week of festivities, as Nissan delivers the first Nissan LEAF vehicles to each of its primary launch markets in Northern and Southern California, Arizona, Oregon, Seattle and Tennessee. Nissan also is donating $25,000 to the World Wildlife Fund to mark the occasion.
The initial Nissan LEAF deliveries will be followed by a second shipment of Nissan LEAF electric cars scheduled to arrive on Dec. 20, and destined for consumer driveways in time for the holidays. Nissan is on track for a nationwide launch of the Nissan LEAF by 2012, with Hawaii and Texas next to roll out in early 2011. In order to fulfill interest and meet demand in initial launch markets, Nissan plans to reopen reservations in the first half of 2011 as well as shift timing of additional markets until the second half of 2011.
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.