The deal announced Friday would aim to bring the automakers' electric vehicles to Ireland within the next two years.
The deal includes a pledge from ESB to build an electric vehicle charging network open to all car manufacturers. Ireland has announced it hopes to have electric vehicles make up 10 percent of the cars on the road by 2020.
The news comes on the heels of Nissan's unveiling this week of its EV-02 electric car prototype, aimed at release in late 2010. The car is expected to have a range of about 100 miles and sell for less than $33,000, putting it below projected prices for several electric car rivals (see Under the Hood With Nissan's Electric Car).
While Nissan has not set a target for how many electric vehicles it hopes to sell, Renault has said it hopes to sell from 20,000 to 40,000 electric vehicles in 2011.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance has already laid plans for electric car charging networks with Israel, Denmark, Portugal, Monaco, the Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan, the states of Oregon and Tennessee and California's Sonoma County (see Portugal, Renault-Nissan Set Electric-Car Plan).
What form the charging networks for those electric cars will take is still an open question. Better Place, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup that wants to build networks of battery-swapping stations in lieu of charging outlets, is working with Nissan in Israel, Denmark and Portugal.
According to the Irish Times, the Irish energy agency Sustainable Energy Ireland has estimated that those networks have cost about €200 million ($268 million). Better Place is also planning to build charging networks in Australia, Ontario, Hawaii, and the San Francisco Bay Area – the last at an estimated cost of $1 billion (see Better Place and Ontario Launch Project and Better Place to Charge Up California).
But Nissan is also working with fast-charging technology company Ecotality to build a charging network in the Tuscon, Ariz. area. Ecotality CEO Jonathan Read is one of several electric car charging criticized Better Place's battery-swapping concept (see Ecotality and Nissan Team on EV Charging Tech).