Beginning in March, the city of Rio de Janeiro enters the zero-emission mobility era with the launch of the electric taxi programme, a partnership between the Rio de Janeiro City Government, NBA and Petrobras Distribuidora.

In the first phase, two Nissan Leaf taxis, pure-electric vehicles that produce no tailpipe-pollution, will be available in Rio. By the end of the year, 13 more units will be added to the fleet.

The first two electric taxis will be available at the Santos Dumont airport stand. Their batteries will be recharged in two Petrobras service stations at the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon and in the Barra da Tijuca area.

NBA was the only manufacturer to submit a proposal to the Rio de Janeiro city government to select vehicles to serve as electric taxis. The delivery ceremony was held at Nissan do Brasil's new headquarters in Rio with mayor Eduardo Paes.

The Nissan Leaf taxis in Rio were designed to meet the requirements of modern urban mobility offering space, comfort and power comparable with combustion engine models. Since its commercial launch in the US and Japan in 2010 and in Europe in 2011, 50,000 units have been sold worldwide. The Nissan Leaf seats the driver and four passengers and offers a 160-kilometre range. The 48 lithium-ion battery can be recharged in up to eight hours or only 30 minutes via quick chargers to be installed by Petrobras.

Through the initiative, the city administration is encouraging clean and low emission technology, as electric vehicles produce no tailpipe pollution or greenhouse gas and are a sustainable alternative compared to cars powered by oil products. The goal of the Rio de Janeiro Municipality, according to the city's climate policy, is to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 16% by 2016 compared to emission levels of 2005.

"In view of the major events to be held in Rio, we can improve the visibility of clean-energy vehicles so that production and consumption models can be changed to a sustainable system," said Carlos Roberto Osório, commissioner of the city department of transportation.

Nissan, the industry's pioneer in the production of mass-market, zero-emission vehicles, is giving full support to the City of Rio initiative.

"Nissan is in the global vanguard of electric vehicle technology," said Manuel de La Guardia, vice president, sales and marketing, NBA. "This project in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where Nissan Brazil's headquarters have been located since the beginning of this year, reaffirms our global mission to promote a planet-friendly life without compromising comfort in urban mobility. This is a step forward towards our commitment to the country's development, by offering zero-emission cars designed with embedded Japanese quality and innovation."

Two Petrobras service stations will offer fast recharge to electric taxis: Posto do Futuro, at Barra da Tijuca, and Posto Escola da Lagoa, in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon region. Recharging the batter takes approximately 30 minutes. Electric taxi recharging at Petrobras service stations is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2012 between Petrobras and NBA study the infrastructure expansion for electric vehicle recharging in Brazil.