It's not often that major automakers push production dates ahead in time rather than back, especially with the current economic conditions, but Nissan might be doing just that with its electric vehicle program. While earlier Nissan was claiming that its first mass-produced electric vehicle would not be reaching dealerships in the U.S. before 2012, the company now states that this date could come as early as 2010.

The news comes from Nissan's director of product planning and strategy, Mark Perry, who explained to Automotive News that "if a market is ready for it" the company is open to the possibility of moving in earlier with its electric vehicle program.

Previously, Nissan had announced that it would begin electric vehicle sales in 2010 but only for commercial users and fleet purposes. The latest change in heart may come from a greater interest in electric vehicles following last year’s fuel price spike, as well as increased environmental consciousness and Nissan’s own need to keep up with its rivals.

In related news, Nissan is working with California's San Diego Gas & Electric in a partnership to determine the best ways to implement recharging facilities for electric vehicles in that city. This will include recharging facilities for the home, as well as for a larger recharging infrastructure for the city. Nissan already has similar partnerships with utilities in the state of Tennessee, Oregon and Tucson.