Nissan to make plug-in hybrid in eco-car push

Company plans a new plug-in hybrid by 2015 as part of a strategy based on environmental auto technologies and corporate sustainability strategy.

Nissan said today it will make a new plug-in hybrid vehicle as part of a plan to improve product fuel efficiency and lower its environmental footprint.

CEO Carlos Ghosn and the Leaf Nissan

At a press event in Yokohama, Japan, CEO Carlos Ghosn said Nissan will invest 70 percent of its annual research and development budget on environmental technologies in the next five years.

Its product road map calls for the introduction of a plug-in hybrid based on in-house technology and a new front-wheel hybrid model by 2015. Nissan's goal is to be the leading provider of all-electric vehicles, such as the Leaf, by selling 1.5 million units across the Renault-Nissan Alliance by 2016.

Nissan is one of the most aggressive in adopting electrification in its products, with the Leaf and other models planned based on that electric powertrain. But like other automakers, it is investing in many other efficiency techniques , such as continuous variable transmission, and lighter materials, including "ultra high-tensile strength steel" that will be used in cars starting in 2013, according to Ghosn.

Renault-Nissan will also lead development of a new fuel cell electric vehicle with partner Daimler.

As part of the Nissan Green Program 2016, Nissan set a number of operational objectives to reduce energy and water use and to boost recycling. The company plans to raise its recycled materials rate to 25 percent and decrease use of "critical metals,' including rare earth metals .

 

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