ECOtality has partnered with Nissan and the Pima Association of Governments to bring a new zero-emissions initiative to the Tucson, Arizona region. By pairing prototype EVs and a new charging network, Nissan hopes to further expand its development of practical research into widespread use of electric transport.

Renault-Nissan has been heavily involved in electric vehicle pilot programs around the world for years now, including participation in Shai Agassi's Project Better Place venture and its own projects in Japan, Europe and the U.S.

The expansion to Tucson, Arizona will offer an extreme environment application for the EVs, however, with Arizona's notorious desert ecology no doubt offering a unique chance to test the equipment and the charging systems.

Dominique Thormann, senior VP of administration and finance at Nissan North America said of the new program, "This partnership represents a major step toward making zero emissions a reality in the Tucson metro area. We are looking forward to working with our partners in fostering the development and acceptance of electric vehicles as a smart, environmentally sound choice."

Nissan already has plans to bring EVs to the public by 2010, with full mass-market production by 2012. Some of the first vehicles to be made all-electric will likely include variants of the NV2500 and NV200 commercial vehicles, though passenger cars are also on the table.