Prime Minister Socrates of Portugal is first world leader to get Nissan Leaf

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Published on January 01, 2011

The Leaf promises all-electric personal transportation for the mainstream market. (Photo: Nissan)

Published on January 01, 2011

Portugal was chosen ahead of other European nations because of its advanced recharging network. (Photo: Nissan)

Published on January 01, 2011

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The southwestern European country of Portugal doesn't make global headlines all that often, and lately the news hasn't been all that great with talk about its borrowing costs soaring with yields on its 10-year bonds jumping to nearly 7-percent, and a potential economic bailout needed as we move into 2011. At least Prime Minister José Sócrates will be saving on fuel costs as he drives away in a new Nissan Leaf.

The Portuguese PM became the first world leader to take delivery of the Japanese brand's all-electric Leaf, receiving the keys from Carlos Tavares, executive vice president of Nissan. Technically the car is the property of the Portugal's government and Sócrates merely accepted the keys. It will be used for test drives before the Leaf goes on sale in select markets throughout Europe in early 2011, Portugal chosen as the EU point of entry due to its leading-edge electric charging network.

"We are extremely pleased to be introducing the electric vehicle in Portugal," said Sócrates. "After three years of collaborative work between the Government, public entities, the corporate consortium which developed the MOBI.E solution and Nissan, we have achieved the first smart, built-in charging network on a national scope, therefore we are the first country to welcome electric vehicles. By combining in a pioneer manner our commitment to renewable energies, the implementation of the smart charging network and the introduction of electric vehicles, Portugal will be in the lead of the transition to a more sustainable future."

That corporate consortium is a who's who of European multinationals that combined with the Portuguese government to develop their charging network.

"Companies such as EDP, Efacec, Critical Software, Martifer and Siemens, which, together, have developed MOBI.E's charging solution, want to set an example by being the first entities to acquire electric vehicles for their fleets," said João Dias, on behalf of MOBI.E. "The existence of a charging network constitutes the most crucial element in the affirmation of the electric vehicle. With MOBI.E – the most advanced and intelligent solution for charging worldwide – the incentives and legal frame as defined by the Government, Portugal brings together all the essential conditions to become the first Living Lab for electric vehicles."

MOBI.E continues to install the network which currently includes charging points in 25 cities across Portugal, with another 1,300 normal chargers and 50 fast chargers to be set up by this coming summer.

"Today marks the start of a zero-emission mobility era in Portugal, one of the first countries in the world to adopt a nationwide electric mobility policy," said Nissan's Tavares. "We are honoured to be part of this new chapter in Portugal's history with the 100% electric Nissan LEAF. Portugal's commitment to environmental progress will inspire many other countries."

Those additional countries will soon include Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands, whereas Japan and U.S. deliveries are already underway. The Leaf is currently built in Japan, although European-spec models will be produced in a refitted Nissan factory in Sunderland, UK by early 2013.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: EV, Nissan, 2011, Leaf, Electric,

Geographic location: Portugal

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