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Nissan, along with its parent company Renault, announced on Monday a partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric to further advance the electric vehicle charging network. The announcement also marks the start of Nissan's coast-to-coast tour with its Cube EV prototype.

Nissan plans to introduce its first mass market electric vehicle in the United States in 2010, with the partnership with SDG&E viewed as a very important part of that plan. However, Nissan says its EV prototype doesn't necessarily foreshadow the design of its 2010 production EV.

"Nissan through the Renault-Nissan Alliance has committed to being a global leader in zero-emission vehicles," said Dominique Thormann, senior vice president, administration and finance, Nissan North America. "Nissan and SDG&E have a shared belief that the introduction and expansion of electric vehicles is one of the best solutions to reducing CO2 emissions. This partnership is an important step in making zero emissions a reality in San Diego."

Under the agreement, Nissan will help SGE&G with "EV acquisition" and the promotion of an EV charging infrastructure. Both companies will also work with local companies and groups to "work towards the implementation and maintenance of a battery charging network and establish and support education activities designed to promote the use of EVs."

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has already begun testing EVs in Israel, Denmark, Portugal and Japan.