Nissan Hybrids On the Menu as Well as EVs

Nissan Leaf

A Nissan executive has said the automaker will consider building cheaper hybrid cars as an interim measure, while its full electric vehicle rollout takes shape.

Nissan’s Executive Vice President Mitsuhiko Yamashita told Reuters that, while the automaker had no hard plans for small- or mid-size hybrids, it may be necessary to build them because full electric vehicles are “going to take a while.”

Nissan has made electric vehicles its focus so far, though it has said it will make a few hybrid versions of luxury vehicles. Its commercial electric car, on the other hand, is receiving a lot of publicity as the world’s first mass-produced EV, set for 2010 at a price of $20,000 to $30,000.

That EV is expected to go about 100 miles on a full charge, a range Nissan insists satisfies the vast majority of people’s driving needs. It intends a global rollout of multiple EVs in 2012.

But some automakers are leery of trying to sell a car that takes hours of being plugged in to do what an old-fashioned combustion engine vehicle can do in minutes at the gas station. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is working on deals with governments around the world to build fast-charging networks in hopes of solving that problem, as are others.

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