Nissan EV prototype.Like many other urban places, Seattle will welcome an electric vehicle network to the Emerald City.

In a nonexclusive partnership with Nissan North America, the city of Seattle will promote the development of electric-charging infrastructure.

“The city is committed to creating an environment that is kind to EVs,” said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels (D).

However, the agreement between the manufacturer and the municipality does not go so far as to commit to any specifics. Instead, Nissan will take the lead in establishing local working groups to evaluate sites for possible charging stations. The city will in turn “consider” adopting those suggestions.

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The announcement of the partnership also revealed the city’s plans to mandate residential permits for EV home charging stations. This news was met with surprise from Plug In America director Dan Davids. “I charge my EV in an old dryer outlet in my garage,” he said. “I don’t know anything about a permit.”

Permitting issues aside, the concept EV that Nissan intends to introduce in the Seattle area in 2010 will charge on a standard 220-volt line and go 100 miles on a four-hour charge, said Mark Perry, director of product planning and strategy for Nissan North America.

When pressed for details on the number of vehicles Nissan hopes to bring to the Seattle market or the amount of charging stations to expect or even how the permitting process will work, Perry responded, “it’s day one of the partnership. Give us some time to figure it out.”

Nissan-Renault has formed similar partnerships with the countries of Israel, Denmark, Portugal, Monaco, the U.K., France, Switzerland, Ireland, China, and Hong Kong. In the U.S., Nissan’s Seattle partnership will further its campaign to dominate the West Coast EV scene with other projects in Oregon, California, and Arizona.

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Since 2008, many countries and urban areas have begun to adopt electric vehicle networks. Better Place projects are the most well-known, but as in the case with Seattle’s EV network, auto manufacturers have made parternships with municipalities to establish EV-friendly communities. Nissan does it a lot.

Nissan North America will offer its electric vehicles on the mass market starting in 2012.

In other green auto news …

• Fiat of Fiat-Chrysler-Italian-savior-of-the-American-auto-industry fame is actually the world’s leading producer of natural-gas engines. The automaker hopes to sell 120,000 natural-gas vehicles in Europe this year, and with T. Boone Pickens’ very enthusiastic blessing, Fiat hopes to bring the technology to the U.S.

• Screw the economy, people want hybrids … in Japan.

• Norway considers a proposal to start banning sales of fossil-fuel powered cars in 2015.

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