The electric car karma has been very intense this August. First Nissan unveiled its LEAF EV, then the US government injected $2.4 billion into the EV industry, and most recently GM confirmed a plugin hybrid baby Buick Enclave is on its way.

In a new interview, Nissan direct of product development Mark Perry confimed it is his company's intention to begin selling LEAF EVs by the end of next year.

The first 5000 cars will be sold through US dealerships in five key markets felt to be most plug-in ready. These include Tennessee, Oregon, San Diego, Seattle and the Phoenix/Tucson region.

These will not be a test fleet but real cars that consumers will buy.

However, people who buy them must be willing to participate in a study that Nissan is conducting with EV charging infrastructure company eTec. That study will assess the real world behavior of the cars and aims to understand how consumers recharge their vehicles. It is being partly funded by a $99 million DOE grant to eTec.

"We're moving fast," said Perry. "This is not a test to determine whether or not it's going to work. This is the beginning of mass marketing."

Source (Automotive News, subscription)