When you think of cutting-edge, sustainable transportation technology, the rolling hills of Tennessee might not immediately spring to mind, but makers of the all-electric Nissan LEAF plan to change that.
Nissan ignited local excitement when it announced plans to install solar-assisted EV charging stations at its Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant and the new Nissan Americas headquarters in Franklin, Tenn.
The company intends to install a total of 30 chargers at the two Tennessee facilities, one for each year that the company has operated out of these communities which lie just south of the Nashville metro area.
The advanced solar chargers, which will be operational for use by Nissan employees and visitors by July 1, are designed to charge the Nissan LEAF, the world's first affordable, all-electric zero-emission vehicle. Soon, brand-new Nissan LEAFs (Leaves?) and the batteries that power them will be rolling off the line at its Smyrna manufacturing complex.
"Tennessee is Nissan's home in the Americas region," said Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas. "These solar-assisted charging stations demonstrate our dedication to a zero-emissions society, and our dedication to bringing innovation to our home in Tennessee."
In late 2010, the company announced plans to install 1,500 free public electric charging stations at malls, rest areas, and shopping areas across the state by the middle of 2012.
Nissan is working with the U.S. Dept. of Energy, which is funding the stations through a matching grant, as well as Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority, with which Nissan will share usage and technical data from the solar chargers for further study.