Ecotality said Friday it's teaming up with Nissan and a transportation agency in the Tucson area to establish an electric-car charging network.
The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company, which has developed a fast-charging technology, will form what it calls an EV Micro-Climate Working Group with Nissan North America and the Pima Association of Government to work on permitting processes with the various local governments in Pima County to create a network of charging stations. The association is a nonprofit, regional transportation planning group in Arizona.
The working group wants to get the network and public education plans ready for Nissan's planned launch of electric cars in 2010. Nissan plans to promote its new vehicles with public and private fleet buyers in the county. Ecotality said its charging technology will work with cars made by other manufacturers.
Other major carmakers also plan to start selling different versions of electric cars, including plug-in hybrid electric cars that would make use of both gasoline and electricity as fuels. The manufacturers don't expect the sales volumes to be huge initially, however, since their prices are likely to cost more than average cars.
Like other companies eyeing the potentially large electric-car market, Ecotality is working on conquering it one region at a time. Better Place is doing something similar, though the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup has also inked deals to deploy its networks of charging and battery-swapping stations throughout a state and countries such as Israel and Denmark (see Better Place Grabs €103M, Names New Danish CEO).
Better Place also has gotten commitment from cities in the San Francisco Bay Area to collectively develop permitting processes and provide incentives to make it easier to attract customers and set up charging networks (see Better Place to Charge Up California).
Better Place's idea of swapping batteries has drawn criticism from competitors, including CEO of Ecotality, Jonathan Read.
Ecotality's subsidiary, Electric Transportation Engineering Corp., recently won a contract with the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority to create a guideline for planning and deploying a charging network.
Ecotality also teamed up with V2Green, which has developed software to facilitate communication between plug-in hybrid cars and the electric grid, last summer to demonstrate Ecotality's charging device, which the company said can fill up a battery in 10 minutes instead of hours required when plugging the car into a regular household socket (see Prepping for Plug-Ins to Hit the Grid).
Ecotality, which also develops hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies, bought its fast-charging technology back in 2007, when it spent $3 million to acquire Edison Minit-Charger (see Ecotality's Buying Spree Continues).