Tesla Motors Inc. and electric car maker Nissan Motor Co. are facing a potentially dismal state of affairs as they seek to expand into the U.S. market, with the auto industry’s biggest competitor facing an onslaught of consumer complaints about the safety and reliability of its electric cars.
The two companies announced Monday they will begin a pilot program in Texas to provide owners of Nissan vehicles with a free EV charging system that is expected to take about six months to reach full production.
The program will allow owners to buy a $2,500 Tesla EV battery that they can use to charge their vehicles in their own garage.
Tesla has also said it will invest $500 million in electric vehicle development over the next 10 years.
“We know there are still plenty of problems,” said Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.
“Our electric vehicles are not perfect, but we believe that this is a step in the right direction.
The world is moving in a new direction, and this is an important step to ensure the success of our electric vehicle program.”
Ghosni and Nissan said in a joint statement that the pilot program will enable Nissan to help Nissan owners who wish to purchase a Nissan LEAF electric car.
“The program will provide the Nissan LEA owners with an opportunity to be part of the Tesla electric car revolution,” the statement said.
The U.K.-based electric car manufacturer, which had its electric vehicles built by Tesla, said it is confident that the EV charging stations will help its electric vehicle, the Leaf, achieve “the highest levels of safety and environmental performance.”
The announcement comes as the auto-focused auto industry has faced a spate of consumer protests, including a nationwide sit-in that shut down highways for hours in protest against the death of a driver at a California gas station.
Nissan is the world’s largest manufacturer of electric cars, including the Leaf.
The company is working to develop a vehicle that has a battery that can recharge in less than an hour, the company said.
“As electric cars have become a major technology and consumer demand in the U-S., Nissan is taking a number of steps to make sure that Nissan LEAVERS are designed to last and operate as well as Nissan LEAGER,” Nissan said.
Tesla, the most valuable publicly traded U.G. company in the world, said Monday it plans to expand its EV charging program by adding to the number of chargers.
“Over the coming months, we will be adding a total of 100 charging stations to our EV charging network to help make EV charging even easier for our customers,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a statement.
“With a total capacity of more than 100,000 charging stations, our EV network is set to deliver a full range of EV charging services to every EV owner in the country, in just under a month.”
In September, Nissan announced it would purchase the UBS AG’s Tesla energy storage unit, but the deal was quickly pulled after a series of problems with battery packs.
Nissan’s EV battery business has been plagued by problems with its batteries, and Nissan has been working to improve battery technology to keep its electric car lines running.
Nissan said the battery pack will be installed at about 1,000 of its 3,000 electric vehicles.