FRANKLIN, TN - Nissan Motor Co., planning to offer electric cars in the U.S. as early as 2010, said Tennessee and its main electric utility may set up charging stations to promote use of non-polluting vehicles.

Tennessee, home to Nissan’s North American headquarters and the Tennessee Valley Authority, the largest public U.S. power company, will study adding the stations along two interstate highways, Governor Phil Bredesen said today. Nissan didn’t provide financial details or say when stations might open, according to

The partnership is the fourth such announcement for Tokyo- based Nissan as it prepares rechargeable cars with lithium-ion battery packs for test programs in Israel, Denmark, and Portugal.

Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn has said he wants Nissan to lead in developing vehicles that consume little or no petroleum, as soaring oil prices threaten sales of conventional autos.

Nissan, along with alliance partner Renault SA of France, has said it will introduce zero-emission electric cars to fleet users in the U.S. by 2010. Battery-powered Nissan vehicles that travel at least 100 miles on a single charge will be marketed to U.S. consumers by 2012.

In May, Nissan said it will build a 12 billion yen ($113 million) factory with Japan’s NEC Corp. to make lithium-ion batteries for electric cars.

Separately, General Motors Corp. said it will work with more than 30 U.S. electric utilities on a network for customers to easily recharge its Volt plug-in hybrid when the car debuts in late 2010.

The automaker is collaborating with power companies such as American Electric Power Co., Duke Energy Corp., and PG&E Corp. on universal technical standards for charging the plug-in automobile that will get its energy from a wall outlet and drive 40 miles on a single charge.