West Coast Electric Car Corridor Taking Shape as Nissan Adds Seattle Partnership


Oregon, Sonoma County, Tucson, San Diego, Phoenix, and now Seattle. Nissan has been on a media blitz over the last few months adding partners to its growing list of electric vehicle cooperators. In doing so, a clear picture of the company’s “West Coast Plan” has emerged.

Sure there are the outliers like Tennessee, but overall, Nissan’s thrust has left out most of the rest of the United States east of, say, the Great Divide.

No, “West Coast Plan” is not a term that the Renault-Nissan Alliance uses, but they may as well start. Even though the company likely didn’t begin with a clear idea of how their blitz would end up, it’s clear now that the West Coast is going to be the major point of departure for them.

How can I be relatively certain that Nissan didn’t know they would end up with a West Coast corridor before they started this process? It all comes down to the strategy itself, which goes something like this:

  1. Find a willing political cooperator (state, county, city, whatever).
  2. Guarantee that cooperator will get special preference from Nissan to supply electric cars to the region by the end of 2010.
  3. Obtain heavy political backing from cooperator to muscle through legislation to make purchasing electric cars affordable and virtually unavoidable in cooperator’s region ($5,000 tax credit in Oregon anyone?).
  4. Use new found political backing to convince regional power companies that the sky is not falling.
  5. Become an integral voice in determining how the charging infrastructure gets built — to Nissan’s liking, of course.
  6. Use newly formed partnership to entice other potential cooperators to join up.

And so the process has built on itself for Nissan over the last months, one partnership leading to the next with each successive partnership making the next one easier to negotiate. Because the strategy is based on a virtual town by town blitz, it only makes sense that a regional corridor will be the result.

Nissan didn’t know exactly who their cooperators would be before they set out on their 3 hour tour, but it certainly seems that the partners who were easiest to court were on the West Coast.

So far It’s been an incredibly successful strategy for them. In fact, the plan has been so successful that other auto makers are now following closely in Nissan’s path (Mitsubishi just announced its first partnership of this kind with Oregon — something I called last year).

When I declared last November that Nissan was on track to electric car world domination with this strategy, turns out I wasn’t just pissing through my teeth.

Image Credit: Nissan


Nick Chambers

Not your traditional car guy.