Get Ready Central Florida! Orlando is officially an early adopter of EVs

Thursday, February 4, 2010
It's official, the Central Florida area (Orlando) will be an Early Adopter of EVs!

On February 2nd, we had a double header event which was officiated by the Mayor of Orange County, Richard Crotty, the Mayor of Orlando, Buddy Dyer, Nissan's Tracy Woodard, OUC's Byron Knibbs, and Progress Energy's Rob Caldwell.  Here's what was announced...
  • Orlando becomes a Partner City for RMI's Project Get Ready.  We join 6 other cities that have been working with the Rocky Mountain Institute to get ready for electric vehicles. You can think of RMI's Project Get Ready as a recipe for how to rollout EV infrastructure in a given metro area.  This recipe was created by RMI by talking to Govs, Vendors, Utilities, and Auto Manufactures and learning from past mistakes of prior EV launches in the 90s.  This relationship also gets us access to all of this experience when we want too.  Here's the website for "Get Ready Central Florida".
  • Orlando becomes one of the Early Adopter cities for the Nissan Leaf.  We join just 20 other cities that will be selling the Nissan Leaf this year.  Together with the Project Get Ready initiative, we'll be working with Nissan to prepare Central Florida for the Leaf.  You can read the details of this relationship below in the press release below.
The ceremony was at the Jefferson Street Parking Garage in Downtown Orlando...and although it's not the swankest place to have a ceremony, it worked out good because it was raining that day and no one had to get out in the weather to attend.  The other reason to have it there was that the test cars are not street legal.

Centerstage was the "pretty" Nissan Leaf...the one that looks close to the final production version.  There's only 2 of these on Earth now.  The Leaf is very smart looking both inside and out and has a good amount of room inside.  The instrument cluster is clean, easy to see, and "space age" - it reminds me of the bridge on Star Trek, The Next Generation.  As a Carrot to get you to drive efficiently, you'll get little Tree icons when you drive sanely...and you'll hear a sawmill if you drive aggressively...just kidding about the sawmill.

After the ceremony, we were offered to drive the Leaf's ugly brother...the "mule".   This version of the car is a Nissan Versa with the powertrain and battery which is close to the final production version.  For my quick lap around the garage, the car accelerated great and I didn't notice any weirdness in the transition between regenerative and real breaking.  The powertrain was very responsive and "snappy"...I'm looking forward to the real deal.

A couple of tidbits that I picked up from the Leaf's handlers are...
  • Nissan will NOT be offering to lease the batteries if you buy the car...and Mitsubishi announced the same a few days ago.  I think this is a good move as you can lease the whole car anyway...which is what I would do if I were worried about battery life.
  • For the longest battery life, you should let the batteries deplete until a 30% State Of Charge and then charge them up to 80% SOC.  You can program the car to only charge it up to 80% if you want...and this upper limit is preset when you use the Level 3 Fast Charger to manage the intense heat that is created during fast charging.  Now we just need some time on the batteries to know HOW much longer the life will be if you follow different charge patterns.  I'm thinking most people will just charge it 100% and charge it again when they get home no matter what the SOC.
I've been on the Steering Committee with "Get Ready Central Florida" since October 09 and I'm really excited about the future of EVs in Orlando.  We've got the commitment from several key stakeholder groups (Gov't, Utilities, & Car Companies) and the group works well together.  We're gearing up now to fill out our working groups with stakeholders in the community and we're planning some new events with other automakers...this will be fun!

As a Floridian, I've always been jealous of the progressive EV initiatives on the West Coast.  However, after today, I don't have to be so jealous anymore.

If you would like a presentation made to your group on the topic of EV infrastructure, just shoot me an email via my About page.

See the Nissan-Orlando press release below...

Renault-Nissan Alliance Forms Zero-Emission Vehicle Partnership with City of Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The Renault-Nissan Alliance today announced that Nissan is entering into an agreement with the City of Orlando and the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) to advance zero-emission mobility in the Orlando area by promoting the development of an electric-vehicle charging network and policies to support widespread adoptions of electric cars. The announcement, made at the Orlando stop of the Nissan LEAF Zero Emissions Tour, helps pave the way for the 2010 introduction of Nissan LEAF, the industry's first all-electric, zero-emission car designed for the mass market.

(Logo: )
"The Renault-Nissan Alliance has committed to becoming a global leader in zero emissions," said Carlos Tavares, Chairman, Nissan Americas. "Nissan and the City of Orlando share the vision that zero-emissions mobility is the ultimate solution for addressing questions of climate change and energy independence. We are looking forward to bringing the Nissan LEAF, the only mass-marketed, all-electric zero-emission car, to Orlando."

As part of the agreement, Nissan and the City of Orlando, along with OUC, will develop plans to promote a charging infrastructure for electric cars that encourages home and workplace charging, as well as a public charging infrastructure. The partners will work to coordinate the establishment of policies and help streamline charging infrastructure deployment. Nissan also has agreed to make available a supply of electric vehicles to the City of Orlando and in and around the metropolitan area and Orange County, Fla. The City of Orlando has a goal to foster electrification as part of its Green Works Orlando Initiative.

"This partnership is a continuation of the City of Orlando's commitment to cleaner, more sustainable transportation options – building on the recent approval of the commuter rail and high-speed rail funding, plans to expand the downtown bus system, expanded bicycle infrastructure throughout the city and converting the city fleet to more efficient models," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

OUC has been working towards helping Central Florida become plug-in ready, and recently installed two charging stations in downtown Orlando, one of which is solar powered. OUC has committed to the purchase of up to 10 Nissan LEAF units to be used in its fleet for service calls and educational purposes.
"OUC is dedicated to embracing fuel efficient technology like the Nissan LEAF and helping develop the infrastructure necessary to support it," said Byron Knibbs, OUC Vice President of Sustainable Services. "We are proud to be part of this community-wide effort to stay ahead of the curve."

Nissan, along with alliance partner Renault, is the only automaker committed to making all-electric vehicles available to the mass market on a global scale.  Nissan LEAF, a five-passenger all-electric car, will be available for private and fleet customers. It is being launched in the U.S., Japan and Europe in late 2010.
Nissan has spearheaded a holistic approach to zero-emission mobility by working with states, municipalities, utility companies and other partners, to prepare markets and infrastructure. Nissan has formed more than a dozen partnerships in the United States, in areas including State of Tennessee, the State of Oregon, Sonoma County, San Diego and San Francisco in California, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., Washington D.C., Seattle, with Progress Energy in Raleigh, N.C., and with Houston-based Reliant Energy. Nissan also is working with AeroVironment for the supply and installation of home charging stations, creating a one-stop shop for the Nissan LEAF and its charging equipment.

Through the 24-city Nissan LEAF Zero-Emission Tour, which stopped in Orlando today, Nissan has been showcasing the electric vehicle and battery technology as well as the company's zero-emission mobility objectives.

Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing.  Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling.  More information on the Nissan LEAF and zero-emission mobility can be found at

Renault-Nissan Alliance
The Renault-Nissan Alliance has begun zero-emission vehicle initiatives in Kanagawa Prefecture and Yokohama in Japan, as well as in Mexico, Israel, Denmark, Portugal, Monaco, the UK, France, Switzerland, Ireland, China and Hong Kong. The Renault-Nissan Alliance, founded in 1999, sold 6,090,304 vehicles in 2008. The objective of the Alliance is to rank among the world's top three vehicle manufacturers in terms of quality, technology and profitability.



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