Starting this month, the city of Rio de Janeiro has its own electric taxi program with an initial pair of Nissan Leaf.

The program is a partnership between the Rio de Janeiro City Government, Nissan do Brasil (NBA) and Petrobras Distribuidora.

In the first phase, two Nissan Leaf taxis will be available in Rio. By the end of the year, 13 more units will be added to the fleet.

Nissan said 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 today at Nissan do Brasil’s new headquarters in Rio with mayor Eduardo Paes.

Since its commercial launch in the U.S. 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-kilometer range. The 48 lithium-ion battery can be recharged in up to eight hours or only 30 minutes via the 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 percent 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.

Two Petrobras service stations will be setup to offer fast charging to electric taxis: Posto do Futuro, at Barra da Tijuca, and Posto Escola da Lagoa, in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon region.

Electric taxi recharging at Petrobras service stations is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2012 between Petrobras and NBA to study the infrastructure expansion for electric vehicle recharging in Brazil.

The Nissan Leaf taxi delivery ceremony coincided with the official inauguration of Nissan do Brasil’s new headquarters in the modern Porto Brasilis building, where the company has been established since January.

NBA has chosen Rio to establish its new headquarters because of its investment in the construction of a new plant in Resende and sponsorship of the Rio 2016 Games.

Downtown Rio is a privileged location where the City Administration is promoting a revitalization project, including the old harbor area, known as “Porto Maravilha.”