Nissan has struck again. The company has signed a deal with Europcar that will lead to electric rental cars by 2010.
Under the deal, Europcar will offer electric vehicles in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
Nissan is going to first market its all-electric to commercial businesses and consumers in the U.S. and Japan staring in late 2010. It has already signed deals in various places in those countries for charging stations. The car is expected to cost between $22,000 and $33,000 before the $7,500 federal tax credit, which is very cheap for an electric car. The plan is to mass market the car to the rest of the world by 2012. The rental plan, thus, gives Nissan the ability to seed the market.
Both Nissan and Ford plan to come out with all-electric that year, although Ford will initially target only businesses. General Motors will also come out with the Volt, its plug in hybrid. How all these cars operate will be the big automotive question of the decade. Nissan's car only goes 100 miles on a charge, not optimal for rental situations, but it can also be charged from a plug. I drove a prototype. It's quite fun. Nissan developed the battery in conjunction with NEC.