YOKOHAMA, Kanagawa – Renault-Nissan Alliance and the Wuhan municipal government signed an agreement on March 25 to jointly promote electric vehicles in Wuhan, Nissan (China) Investment Co., Ltd., (NCIC) said in a statement in late March.
According to the agreement, the French-Japanese duo will introduce 25 Nissan EVs to Wuhan starting in 2011, and conduct market research on EV promotion. The Wuhan government will build 250 charging facilities in the city to support the operation of these Nissan EVs in two years. In addition, two EV quick chargers will be set up in designated area in the city, and the two sides will also collaborate on marketing and “education and awareness” of EVs.
Wuhan is one of the 13 Chinese cities chosen for new energy vehicle pilot programs. Back in April 2009, the Wuhan government and Renault-Nissan signed a memorandum of understanding to promote EV development in the city. Wuhan has promised to introduce 300 Nissan EVs through government procurement or purchase by EV fleet operators during the next three years.
Yasuaki Hashimoto, president of NCIC, said in late 2008 that the automaker aimed to start selling electric cars in the country by 2012.
The Nissan Leaf EV, which is scheduled to hit the Japanese, U.S. and European markets this year, will be the first EV model introduced to China. The lithium-on battery powered 5-seat sedan is rated to last 160 kilometers on one full charge.
“Renault-Nissan always believes that EV promotion will make major contributions to CO2 emission reduction. So far we have signed cooperation agreements with more than 50 countries, regions and organizations to jointly promote EV development,” said Nissan Motor’s executive vice president Nishikawa. “We are proud to become the first multinational automaker to forge a partnership with a Chinese partner. I believe this type of win-win business model will give a major boost to EV development in Wuhan.”
Nissan also signed a “memorandum of understanding to develop an EV (electric vehicle) industry” with Guangzhou municipal government last November. The Guangzhou government agreed to provide support for infrastructure construction such as building charging and repair facilities, but has not released any timetable yet.
Yasuaki Hashimoto said that Guangzhou will be the preferred location for local production of Nissan EVs. The Japanese automaker, which has had a JV partnership with China’s third largest automaker Dongfeng Motor Group since 2002, operates a passenger vehicle plant in the Huadu District of Guangzhou.
Hashimoto described China as “one of the most important markets for electric cars.” He also revealed that Nissan will continue to promote EVs in other Chinese cities besides Wuhan and Guangzhou.
Moving ahead with the Wuhan project and the effort to carve out space for its plug-in EVs in the world’s largest car market represents a significant step forward for Renault-Nissan, which aims to dominate the global market of electric vehicles. Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan Alliance, said in a previous statement that global EV totals are expected to reach 5-6 million units by 2020, accounting for 10 percent of the global auto market. And the French-Japanese group eyes taking more than half of the pie.