TEMPE, AZ - The U.S. Department of Energy has expanded the EV Project to include two new cities -- Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. -- and has broadened the offer of free home chargers to include qualified new owners of the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended-range capability.

The expansion also adds 1,000 more Nissan LEAF zero-emission cars to the project. 

The program expansion was announced by ECOtality Inc., a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies. This expansion will be funded by a DOE grant extension to ECOtality's EV Project, which was created through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). 

This new federal grant extension includes $15 million of ARRA funding, which will be matched with $15 million in private funds, to reach the total of $30 million. ECOtality is the project manager for the EV Project, which began in October 2009 with an original grant amount of $99.8 million.

With the assistance of more than 40 partners, the EV Project will deliver nearly 15,000 residential and commercial chargers to 13 cities in five states and the District of Columbia. The mission of the project is to evaluate the use of electric vehicles and charging systems in diverse geographies and climates, and then use that information to build a foundation that will optimize adoption of electric vehicles nationwide.


With this expansion, ECOtality's EV Project will provide an additional 2,600 home chargers for owners of the Chevrolet Volt, as well as another 1,000 chargers for the zero-emission Nissan LEAF electric vehicles. 

"Americans are ready to think differently about how they drive, and are ready to embrace electric vehicle technology," said ECOtality CEO and President Jonathan Read. "Through the EV Project, ECOtality is meeting the demand for new fuel sources by making EV charging simple, smart and available to everyone." 

"Nissan is looking forward to bringing the Nissan LEAF and sustainable mobility to Los Angeles," said Eric Noziere, vice president of corporate planning for Nissan North America. "We have seen tremendous interest through early reservations from L.A. consumers. These 1,000 Nissan LEAF 100-percent electric cars and supporting charging infrastructure will help create a successful environment for electric vehicles as we approach the December launch of the Nissan LEAF. In total, Nissan is supporting the EV Project through 5,700 vehicles nationwide." 

The mission of The EV Project is to collect and study data that will ultimately characterize how consumers actually use EVs in a wide range of climate conditions and geographies, as well as to create a model that will allow charging infrastructure to grow throughout the United States as a sustainable, stand-alone business that does not require long-term government support. 

Inclusion of the Volt now allows for the study of performance and use patterns for electric vehicles with extended-range capability.

"Many Volt owners will plug their Volt into a normal 120-volt electrical outlet, charge overnight and drive to work in the morning using only battery power," said Tony DiSalle, product and marketing director for the Chevrolet Volt. "For Volt owners who want to install a faster 240-volt charge station, we expect the EV Project to save them a significant amount of money. In addition, the EV Project enables Volt owners to play a role in developing our collective understanding of electric vehicles in the market." 

ECOtality North America President and CEO Don Karner added: "We are very excited to expand our studies to include additional Nissan LEAF vehicles, to add the Chevrolet Volt, and to add the dynamic transportation environments of Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Since the EV Project began last October, we have been busy working with regional stakeholders to plan an effective charge infrastructure deployment. We will soon be entering a new phase of the EV Project to deploy chargers in accordance with these plans." 

ECOtality will present EV Project charge hardware in San Jose at Plug-In 2010, set for July 26-29. For more information about the EV Project, visit www.theevproject.com .