Autos News

Nissan in electric car tie-up with San Diego utility

A Nissan logo is pictured at their corporate headquarters in Singapore March 18, 2009. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

DETROIT (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co 7201.T said on Monday it has formed a partnership with utility company San Diego Gas & Electric SDO_pa.A to develop an infrastructure that would provide charging stations for electric car owners.

Nissan and its Japanese partner have teamed up with several U.S. states including Tennessee and Oregon as well as governments in Japan, Israel, Denmark and Portugal over the past year to study the infrastructure needed to support the roll-out of electric cars starting in 2010.

Such initiatives are considered critical for electric car drivers so they do not have to return home when their vehicles are low on power.

Nissan, which trails Japanese rivals Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T and Honda Motor Co 7267.T in hybrid technology, has made it a priority to become a leader in the still emerging market for fully electric vehicles.

Under the latest tie-up, Nissan and San Diego Gas & Electric will develop plans to develop a charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and work to implement and maintain a battery charging network, the automaker said.

Nissan plans to launch zero emission vehicles powered by lithium-ion battery packs in the United States in 2010 and market the vehicles globally two years after the U.S. launch.

The automaker has said the cruising range for its first generation of electric cars could be 100 miles, but the company would look to boost that to near 200 miles by the second generation of the battery pack.

Reporting by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Brian Moss