Nissan Plans To Launch Own Hybrid By 2010

Plan part of 'green' car program.

Japan's Nissan Motor Co. said Dec. 11 it aims to develop its own hybrid and other 'green' cars as part of a push to catch up with rivals such as Toyota and Honda in energy-saving motoring. Under a five-year "green program", Nissan, which is owned 44% by France's Renault, said it also aims to introduce a vehicle running entirely on bio-ethanol fuel for the Brazilian market by 2009.

Nissan plans to work on the development of a car that will travel 100 kilometers (62 miles) on just three liters of gasoline by 2010 with carbon dioxide emissions comparable to a gas-electric hybrid. The car will launch in Japan.

Another goal is to introduce a next-generation fuel cell vehicle as well as an electric vehicle during the early part of the next decade.

Nissan has been slow to embrace hybrids, which are equipped with an electric motor and a standard petrol engine. Nissan currently has no gas-electric hybrid on the market. It is due to launch a hybrid version of its Altima sedan in the U.S. market next year using technology developed by Toyota Motor Corp.

Now Nissan also plans to develop one using its own technologies and also accelerate the development of plug-in hybrid technology that can use grid power to recharge batteries in addition to the onboard charging system.

Nissan said that vehicles using electric motors would become increasingly important and ultimately could replace internal combustion engines. But for now it expects the internal combustion engine to remain the primary power source for vehicles "for the foreseeable future".

Suffering from a 15% drop in operating profits in the first half to September amid a lack of new models, Nissan said it also aimed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from its plants by 7% by 2010 from 2005 levels.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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