Today it was announced that ECOtality, Inc.’s subsidiary, Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec), a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies, received a grant totaling approximately $99.8 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to commence the largest deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure in U.S. history.

eTec has partnered with Nissan North America to undertake the massive project. According to the press release, the companies 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. It has not been said if success will lead to further opportunity, but the project will certainly put the spotlight on the company and may lead to other contracts.

“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,” stated 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. eTec’s extensive experience in battery electric drive systems and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, combined with the support of Nissan and over 40 government and industry partners, will enable this Project to successfully pave the way for electric transportation nationwide.”

The project has been put in place to 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. The goal of the project is to develop mature charging environments, deploying 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).

“ECOtality is committed to enhancing America’s energy independence, accelerating the market acceptance of electric transportation and supporting President Obama’s goals for job creation and advanced electric drive vehicle deployment,” commented Jonathan Read, President and CEO, ECOtality. “This Project underscores America’s leadership role in clean electric transportation and exemplifies the Department of Energy’s strategic foresight and commitment to improving our environment and economy. By developing a rich charge infrastructure in each market, this Project will enable a successful consumer experience amongst early EV adopters and increase market demand for electric transportation.”

“Nissan appreciates the support of the Department of Energy in helping jumpstart the electrification of the transportation sector,” said Scott Becker, vice president, legal and general counsel, Nissan North America. “This is a major step in promoting zero-emission mobility in the United States. Nissan is looking forward to partnering with eTec to help make electric cars a reality and to help establish the charging networks in key markets.”

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