Nissan Motors and European passenger car and light utility vehicle rental firm, Europcar, have agreed to form a partnership to market electric vehicles by 2010 and advance zero-emission mobility on a global scale, Nissan said.
Nissan Motors will sell its electric vehicles to Europcar, which will use these cars in its car rental business reaching a broader customer base.
Electric vehicles will be rolled out in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand and will be subsequently extended to other countries, the companies said.
The companies have not clarified whether the vehicles will carry the Nissan brand.
''This signature fits perfectly with the principles of our Green Charter and our action policy intended to offer our customers a fleet with as limited an impact as possible on the environment," Rafael Girona, Europcar Groupe's COO, said in a press release.
Girona said, "We will thus give our customers the option of exploring a new means of mobility by giving them the unique experience of using an electric vehicle in order to encourage them to become better eco-citizens.''
''Nissan through the Renault-Nissan Alliance has committed to being a global leader in zero-emission vehicles,'' said Eric Nicolas, senior vice president, administration and finance, Nissan International SA. ''Nissan and Europcar share the same belief that the introduction and expansion of electric vehicles is one of the best solutions to sustain the growing need for mobility across the globe.''
This partnership with Europcar is the latest efforts of Nissan -Renault alliance to promote eco-friendly electric vehicles. They have so far formed partnerships with 27 governments, cities and other organisations to promote the use of electric vehicles worldwide.
The Renault-Nissan alliance plans to introduce zero-emission vehicles in the United States and Japan starting from 2010.
The Renault-Nissan alliance also plans to mass-marketing electric vehicles globally in 2012 and aims to take the leadership of zero-emission mobility in the automotive industry.
The alliance has so far signed two final agreements in Europe, with Portugal and the Principality of Monaco. The two agreements formulate concrete proposals ranging from incentives and infrastructures to education programmes, creating the right conditions for mass availability and acceptance of electric vehicles.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance has begun Zero Emission Vehicles initiatives in Japan's Kanagawa Prefecture and Yokohama, as well as in Israel, Denmark, Portugal, Monaco, UK, France, Switzerland, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.
In the US, the alliance is exploring ways to promote zero-emission mobility and the development of an electric vehicles infrastructure in Tennessee, Oregon, and SonomaCounty and San Diego in California, Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona, Seattle in Washington and Raleigh in North Carolina.
Nissan Motor has reported a net loss of ¥233.7 billion ($2.32 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 2009 and has also projected a net loss in 2010. (See: Nissan reports ¥233.7 billion loss for FY09, projects net loss of ¥170 billion for FY2010)
Nissan and Chrysler LLC had put on hold the development of the Dodge Hornet and Nissan Titan pickup truck in February in-order to scale down costs..(See:Chrysler, Nissan put off joint project)
Like other Japanese automakers, Nissan Motors too is trying to push its sale through electric vehicles and make a mark in this segment.
Toyota Motors plans to launch Lexus in India. (See: Toyota to launch Lexus in India soon) and is using technology to develop an innovative environmental vehicle in its quest to dominate alternate-fuel vehicles. (See: Toyota secretly developing total solar energy powered).
Europcar is owned by the French investment company Eurazeo. Europcar serves business and leisure customers throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
In 2008, Europcar signed more than 10 million rental contracts, with 8,000 employees and a fleet exceeding 225,000 vehicles, which excludes franchise operations.
In September 2008, Europcar and U.S. market leader Enterprise Rent-A-Car formed a strategic alliance to form the world's largest car rental network, with more than 1.2 million vehicles and 13,000 locations around the world.