If you think that manufacturers have a hard time making EVs appeal to consumers who have got used to over a hundred years of fossil fuels, then feel grateful you aren't in Carlos Ghosn's shoes.

The Renault and Nissan chief is visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the hope of establishing a partnership with the country's governments to open the door to selling the 2011 Nissan Leaf. The tricky part? The UAE's main export, in common with many Middle Eastern nations, is oil.

So how do you wean a nation whose fortune is invested in oil onto a car that doesn't use a single drop of the stuff? That's what Ghosn is there to find out. In a lecture in Abu Dhabi, he told the audience that "Strong international partnerships are valuable [for Nissan]".

The UAE will actually be home to the world's first city powered entirely by renewable energy, the city of Masdar. A partnership between Nissan and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, where Masdar will be located, would make sense for both parties. Regular gasoline vehicles will not be able to enter the city so electric transportation will be the way forward.

Ghosn said "I applaud the plans to develop the world's first city powered by renewable energy, and we think there are a lot of possibilities for very objective and realistic collaboration in order to support, with our own technology … the development of this reality”.

No formal partnership between Nissan and Masdar is in place just yet, but Nissan clearly has an eye on participating in the project.

Although the UAE might not be getting Nissan's EV just yet, but the first Leafs should be hitting U.S. shores by the end of this year and the car will have been rolled out in all 50 states by the end of 2011. Want to know more? Check out our handy 2011 Nissan Leaf reference guide.