For a city with so many amazing trees, Portland is getting ready to add a bunch of new LEAFs to our streets.


No, that’s not a typo. I’m talking about the LEAF, Nissan’s just-unveiled electric vehicle, which is set to hit dealerships in the fall of 2010. In our quest to be the nation’s leader in electric vehicle infrastructure, usage and development, the Portland region took a big step forward today with the announcement that Nissan and eTec selected Oregon as one of five test markets for the largest deployment of EV’s and the associated charging station network in American history. Oregon was named as a test market by the Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec), which announced today it’s receiving $99.8 million in federal funds to study electric vehicle usage. The funding is part of a larger commitment President Obama declared today, in which he announced that $2.4 billion in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will go toward 48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects.

eTec, a subsidiary of ECOtality, Inc., is working with Nissan North America to deploy approximately 5,000 electric vehicles and 12,750 charging stations in five U.S. markets, including Oregon. Deployment of vehicles and infrastructure will focus initially on the Portland-metro area and then expand to other areas in Oregon. It also follows an agreement between the state, Nissan North America and Portland General Electric last November to work toward the development of an electric vehicle charging network.

That means that up to 1,000 Nissan electric vehicles will be deployed in Oregon and 2,500 charging stations will be installed at homes and businesses that choose to purchase the Nissan Leaf and participate in the program. And this could be just the beginning for the Portland region. As we build out our EV grid, we’ll be looking to create the infrastructure for EV’s along major interstate corridors.

This is exactly the kind of clean tech investments that Portland, and Oregon, have fought for, and we’re going to keep fighting for public dollars and private sector entrepreneurs to make Portland their home for all things EV. The Pacific Northwest just keeps setting the bar higher and higher. While our neighbors to the north in Washington and to the south in California have their own successes to celebrate, I believe Portlanders will come out on top in the race for EV greatness. One LEAF at a time.

More on the ongoing Gas2 Electric Vehicle Race here.

Image from Nissan North America