Portland State University and Portland General Electric formally joined forces this morning to help the region accommodate electric cars, renew energy, design environmentally friendly buildings and foster regional sustainability.
Presidents of both organizations signed a memorandum of understanding at Portland State, pledging to work together on research, economic development, community projects and education connected with "urban mobility and integration of energy and sustainable design."
The agreement grew out of work by a task force that looked at where the cultures of the two organizations matched and differed and defined efforts they could focus on, said Wim Wiewel, president of Portland State.
He said he hoped to enter more agreements with "important local partners" to help "move this metropolitan area forward. It is about moving the region forward."
Portland General President Jim Piro said that "PSU can become a center of excellence around the electric vehicle."
The company will use the university's expertise to help locate a network of charging stations for electric cars as part of a $100 million eTec-Nissan North America partnership that establishes charging stations in five states, including 2,000 in Oregon.
The first Nissan electric car model coming to Portland will cost $32,780, officials announced at today's signing ceremony. Tax credits will drive the cost down to $23,000, they said.
Piro said he hoped to see the partnership produce practical benefits for the region, including more jobs.
"I'm interested in taking (research) from the university and moving it into real applications," he said.
The only money that Portland General pledged to the university is $50,000 to help it transform its science building into a science research and training complex to promote science-based economic development.