Conveniently located across from Google
The Renault-Nissan Alliance will open a research office this month in Mountain View.
Initial projects will be vehicle IT development, advanced engineering research and technology recruitment. We are already aware of some Googlers with LEAF orders on the books.
Lest anyone think that this is just some publicity play on the part of the Alliance, keep in mind that $5.4 billion has already been invested in the technology. We are not privy to other auto manufacturer budgets, but based on what we’ve seen, no other manufacturer comes close to this level of commitment. While being US centric, the US media focuses on US LEAF sales of 2,167 through May. Globally, Nissan has sold more than 7,500 LEAFs to date.
Electric vehicles already in development at Nissan include an Infiniti premium electric sedan, a Renault commuter car for the European market, and a small utility van (based on the New York City Taxi van) for commercial fleets. Advanced research at the new facility will look into the graphical user interface of the navigation/CARWINGS system, in-car internet connectivity and smart-grid research.
If the alliance will find the right engineers for these projects anywhere on earth, this is a good place to start looking.