Nissan and GE sign agreement on smart-charging infrastructure research


By Liam Orlita

Nissan and GE recently announced a three-year Memorandum of Understanding that aimed at furthering smart-charging infrastructure research.

Nissan, which is rolling out its electric model the Leaf later this year, plans to work with the energy company on finding ways to integrate buildings and homes with electric vehicles.

There are also plans to work on electric vehicle charging dynamics with the larger electric grid. Most GE work will be performed at its global research operations in Niskayuna, New York.

“Together with Nissan, we will take a comprehensive look at what technologies will be needed in the car, on the grid and at home or work to make smart charging a reality,” said Mark Little, senior vice president and director of GE Global Research.

The timing of the agreement is fitting given Nissan’s launch of the Leaf this fall.

Published reports indicate the potential popularity of the company’s answer to the Toyota Prius could exceed meet production capabilities of the small, electric unit. This information has not been confirmed by the automaker.

There are already approximately 11,000 pre-orders for the Leaf – 4,000 in Japan and about 7,000 from U.S. customers.

The U.S., Europe and Japan will be first to see the new nameplate as Canada, and the rest of the world, will have to wait until 2012.