Portugal Leader Drives An Electric Car

Portugal has been among the European countries teetering on the edge of default – but that’s not stopping it from playing a leadership role in the development of electric vehicles in Europe. In fact, the country just took delivery of 10 Nissan Leafs, one of which is going to Prime Minister José Socrates, making him the first head of government to go electric.

In a press release, the Portuguese agency running the EV program, MOBI.E, said Socrates “will now travel exclusively in the Leaf for his official travels around the capital city.” This achievement was a nice hook for promoting the country’s EV efforts, and Socrates took advantage of it, proclaiming “Portugal is the first country in the world to have a nation-wide smart grid for electric vehicles.”

Nissan Leaf, Portugal, prime minister

image via Nissan

At least on the face of it, the country’s progress is remarkable, given its tenuous economic state and its small population (around 10.7 million). Portugal has 50 charging stations installed and intends to have more than 1,300 – including 50 quick charging stations – in place by mid-2011.

The MOBI.E press release notes, as well, that 45 percent of Portugal’s electricity comes from renewable sources, so a hefty portion of the power used to charge EVs in the country will indeed be produced with no emissions.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • Keith

    Where are the stats on the Leaf? Range? charging times? 110 220 volts? charging gear? battery life? battery cost? Why can’t it match range of the E.V.1 second generation? Thanks Keith

  • One Man Standing

    Great – you start your artucle by insulting all Portuguese, Italian, Irish and Greek nationals. The acronym is insulting and completely irrelevant for this article.

    • viva Portugal

      And don’t forget S for Spain.

    • Pete

      My apologies — for being clueless to the offensiveness of the term, and for taking so long to see your comment. I’ve now revised that passage.

  • viva Portugal

    The PM of Portugal is NOT the Head of State.  The H of S is the President.

    • Pete

      Fair point (even though the press release from a quasi-government Portuguese agency used the term head of state). I’ve changed it to head of government.