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Published on November 20th, 2008 | by Nick Chambers

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Nissan & Oregon Team Up to Bring Electric Cars to the Masses

In his keynote address at the 2008 LA Auto Show today, Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan-Renault, announced a wide-ranging partnership to develop electric cars and an electric car charging network with the State of Oregon.

Citing Oregon’s environmental leadership in developing the transportation infrastructure of tomorrow, Ghosn also said that Nissan would be releasing their first electric car for the US market in Oregon in 2010. After releasing electric cars in Oregon in 2010, Ghosn then affirmed that Nissan-Renault will bring an “entire lineup” of zero emission electric cars to the worldwide market by 2012.

I was in the overflow room watching Ghosn on a big screen when he announced all this, so nobody was clapping, but this is definitely some of the biggest news to come out of the LA Auto Show this year — if not the biggest.

Portland General Electric (PGE), an Oregon power company, is also joining the Nissan/Oregon partnership by helping to develop the electric car charging infrastructure needed to bring fully electric cars to consumers.

“This partnership represents a major step toward reliable zero-emission mobility in the state of Oregon,” Ghosn said. “Together, we are creating conditions that will encourage consumers to consider an electric vehicle as an attractive choice that is also good for the environment.”

Oregon, under the leadership of Governor Ted Kulongoski, has recently announced an initiative to provide more than $1 billion dollars to upgrade Oregon’s transportation infrastructure and create new jobs. Along with these recent announcements, the state is planning on providing a $5,000 tax credit on the purchase of all electric cars.

“Today’s announcement shows that a state can create economic opportunity from its commitment to a greener future and the fight against global warming,” Gov. Kulongoski said. “Oregon welcomes Nissan and is pleased to help lead the way in the transition to new, greener vehicle technologies. By partnering with Nissan and Portland General Electric, we can work together to build a consistent and reliable refueling infrastructure so consumers can make the switch to electric vehicles.”

The Oregon Department of Transportation has also committed to promote the deployment, operation and maintenance of the electric car charging network by developing specifications for charging stations and seeking agreements with suppliers that may be used by entities such as local governments and utility companies.

I’ve been a resident of Oregon for the better part of the last decade, so it made me proud to hear Oregon’s name brought up in such a positive way. It struck me, while listening to Ghosn, how honestly enamored he seemed with Oregon’s commitment to actually deploying many of these advanced technologies.

As Ghosn said, his “partners in Oregon are not waiting for a ‘some day’ solution,” they’re working hard now to make the future we all talk about a reality — and they’ve also given me one more reason to love my state.

Photo Credit: Picture of 2009 Nissan Cube by the author



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About the Author

Not your traditional car guy.



  • ChuckL

    Why the $5000.00 credit to sell these cars? Are they really that bad from a performance point when you consider range, and carrying capacity?

    Do Oregonians who require the performance of a pickup truck for their daily work get to not pay taxes that are used to subsidize these things?

    Lets face facts. A government subsidy, regardless of the name given to it, is a proof that the product can not stand on its own merits.

    Now if the government desires to provide a subsidy to the manufacturer by granting a tax holiday for 5 or 6 years, at least that subsidy does not come directly from collected taxes. Payroll taxes would still increase from the jobs created.

  • ChuckL

    Why the $5000.00 credit to sell these cars? Are they really that bad from a performance point when you consider range, and carrying capacity?

    Do Oregonians who require the performance of a pickup truck for their daily work get to not pay taxes that are used to subsidize these things?

    Lets face facts. A government subsidy, regardless of the name given to it, is a proof that the product can not stand on its own merits.

    Now if the government desires to provide a subsidy to the manufacturer by granting a tax holiday for 5 or 6 years, at least that subsidy does not come directly from collected taxes. Payroll taxes would still increase from the jobs created.

  • ChuckL

    Why the $5000.00 credit to sell these cars? Are they really that bad from a performance point when you consider range, and carrying capacity?

    Do Oregonians who require the performance of a pickup truck for their daily work get to not pay taxes that are used to subsidize these things?

    Lets face facts. A government subsidy, regardless of the name given to it, is a proof that the product can not stand on its own merits.

    Now if the government desires to provide a subsidy to the manufacturer by granting a tax holiday for 5 or 6 years, at least that subsidy does not come directly from collected taxes. Payroll taxes would still increase from the jobs created.

  • Nick Chambers

    ChuckL,

    I really don’t think complete free market economics work as good as you think they work. If nothing else, the last 8 years were a scathing condemnation of unregulated free market capitalism, and the vast majority of the US would agree. Sometimes government intervention doesn’t suck, and in this case, Oregon is simply being forward thinking.

    As Carlos Ghosn put it, given the fact that there will be almost 2 billion cars on the road by 2050 (right now there are “only” 600 million in the world) and 12 billion people, zero emissions vehicles are the only option to continue to be able to live on this planet. And to get to ZEVs, we need to start now with the government providing the impetus to get us there.

    I don’t really see a problem with the people who drive pickup trucks paying tax money to subsidize the future of transportation. Given the fact that most everybody won’t own an electric vehicle right off the bat, most people will be paying taxes to subsidize the rollout of these vehicles, not just pickup truck drivers.

    Oregon provides tax incentives for people to drive biodiesel trucks, so people who can’t drive biodiesel trucks are subsidizing them. I really don’t see the problem with this approach. Sometimes you just gotta take one for the team… you can’t always be looking out for #1, ya know?

    In the long run everybody benefits from the introduction of these technologies. Businesses, pickup drivers, joe the plumber… everybody. And they wouldn’t catch on without somebody to break the oil industry’s grasp on our politics.

  • Doug

    ChuckL,

    Dang man, go back to your Chevy dealership and lighten up. There are no little black helicopters circling; this is not a vast govt. conspiracy to destroy capitalism and lock America into socialism. It is a good proactive step by a local government. I hope more states follow suit and initiate plans like this as long as it does not cut funding to other necessities like education.

  • Doug

    ChuckL,

    Dang man, go back to your Chevy dealership and lighten up. There are no little black helicopters circling; this is not a vast govt. conspiracy to destroy capitalism and lock America into socialism. It is a good proactive step by a local government. I hope more states follow suit and initiate plans like this as long as it does not cut funding to other necessities like education.

  • Doug

    ChuckL,

    Dang man, go back to your Chevy dealership and lighten up. There are no little black helicopters circling; this is not a vast govt. conspiracy to destroy capitalism and lock America into socialism. It is a good proactive step by a local government. I hope more states follow suit and initiate plans like this as long as it does not cut funding to other necessities like education.

  • http://globalpatriot.com Global Patriot

    This is an excellent example of states taking the initiative to do something positive when the national government as failed at leadership.

    As to incentives of any sort, free markets work well for products that are discretionary, like new DVD technology, but in those cases where society faces dire consequences from related events – such as pollution or global warming – waiting for free markets to take hold will result in severe damage to the environment.

    That said, the objective is that new technologies can stand on their own eventually, which is to say that incentives are used as a way to quicken the adoption rate and not be a permanent subsidy.

  • http://globalpatriot.com Global Patriot

    This is an excellent example of states taking the initiative to do something positive when the national government as failed at leadership.

    As to incentives of any sort, free markets work well for products that are discretionary, like new DVD technology, but in those cases where society faces dire consequences from related events – such as pollution or global warming – waiting for free markets to take hold will result in severe damage to the environment.

    That said, the objective is that new technologies can stand on their own eventually, which is to say that incentives are used as a way to quicken the adoption rate and not be a permanent subsidy.

  • Dennis

    As Americans, we should trade in our gas guzzling cars for an electric car as soon as they become available. The main reasoning for this initiative is to reduce our demand for foriegn oil and to reduce the influence and power oil producing countries have over our own government. Tesla – 200 miles per charge, ten minutes to charge. Who needs a gas burning internal combustion engine?

  • Dennis

    As Americans, we should trade in our gas guzzling cars for an electric car as soon as they become available. The main reasoning for this initiative is to reduce our demand for foriegn oil and to reduce the influence and power oil producing countries have over our own government. Tesla – 200 miles per charge, ten minutes to charge. Who needs a gas burning internal combustion engine?

  • Dennis

    As Americans, we should trade in our gas guzzling cars for an electric car as soon as they become available. The main reasoning for this initiative is to reduce our demand for foriegn oil and to reduce the influence and power oil producing countries have over our own government. Tesla – 200 miles per charge, ten minutes to charge. Who needs a gas burning internal combustion engine?

  • Tom D.

    ChuckL,

    I guess Bush’s Federal Government must not have had much faith in SUVs, like the Excursion, since they’ve been offering businesses up to $75,000.00 in a tax credit to buy one for the last few years. That in itself was a bailout for the big 3 and others. No wonder they kept building gas guzzlers. The owner of my company, when he’s not flying in his private jet, drives a Porsche Cayenne SUV. He likes that little 100% write off. He gets a new one every year. We’re coming out of 8 years of oilmen running the White House. Can you believe they actually paid people to waste gas?

    My hat’s off to Oregon. I just wish they’d meet Bush’s write off of $75,000.00.

  • Tom D.

    ChuckL,

    I guess Bush’s Federal Government must not have had much faith in SUVs, like the Excursion, since they’ve been offering businesses up to $75,000.00 in a tax credit to buy one for the last few years. That in itself was a bailout for the big 3 and others. No wonder they kept building gas guzzlers. The owner of my company, when he’s not flying in his private jet, drives a Porsche Cayenne SUV. He likes that little 100% write off. He gets a new one every year. We’re coming out of 8 years of oilmen running the White House. Can you believe they actually paid people to waste gas?

    My hat’s off to Oregon. I just wish they’d meet Bush’s write off of $75,000.00.

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