Okinawan Tourists Get Nissan EV Rentals

The Okinawan Prefecture of Japan attracts nearly six million tourists every year, around half of which rent cars to go sightseeing. Now, the area’s tourists will get a taste of zero tail-pipe emissions driving, thanks to Nissan, which recently shipped  220 Leaf electric vehicles (EVs) to the island region as part of the “Eco-resort Island Okinawa Promotion Project.”

At the ribbon-cutting event for this roll-out, Okinawa’s vice-governor Yoshiyuki Uehara and representatives from local business groups, rental car companies and travel agencies in support of the project were all in attendance. Critically, the project is also supported by a new company established by a number of related companies within the prefecture called Advanced Energy Company (AEC), which has deployed 27 charging facilities across the main island of Okinawa.

Nissan Leaf

image via Nissan

Nissan has around 500 of Leaf EVs slated for use as rental cars across Japan for fiscal 2010, with about 40% of them headed for Okinawa. According to the company, through its support of this EV rental car project, Nissan aims to spread the joys of EV-driving and “create a ripple effect that will resonate its environmental benefit to the rest of the country” (and throughout the country’s economy, no doubt, by inspiring more Leaf sales).

The Japanese automaker, in conjunction with partner Renault, said it has signed more than 90 partnerships for zero-emission mobility with governments, municipalities and companies worldwide. The Leaf  went on sale in Japan and the United States in December last year and is to be followed by selected markets in Europe. Release into other global markets is set to begin in 2012.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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