Nissan not planning a Toyota Prius competitor

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

A latecomer in the hybrid race, Nissan Motor Co. won´t tag along Honda and Toyota in equipping small cars with gasoline-electric drivetrains. Instead, Nissan intends to concentrate on an all-electric, zero-emission technology for its green compact vehicles. Nissan believes that this is a more convincing direction for the company.

So, that's where the carmaker is directing its efforts. They see the EV become a reality more in small cars. The Prius and the Insight has made Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. the green-car technology leaders of the world, respectively.

Currently, Toyota is contemplating a hybrid car based on the Yaris, and Honda, on the other hand, is working on a hybrid Fit, both of which are small cars.

Nissan, by contrast, is pursuing hybrids in big luxury sedans. Up until this year Nissan has been using a Toyota-derived system in its own hybrid products, but that will soon change when the company will release an in-house drivetrain in an Infiniti hybrid next year.

The smaller Nissan EV will reach the US as early as next year. The EV and hybrid will be propelled by lithium ion batteries created in conjunction with the Japanese NEC.

To build an electric-vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, Nissan has requested an aid from the US Department of Energy.

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