Nissan To Roll Out Electric Vehicle in the U.S. by 2010

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TOKYO — Nissan announced on Tuesday that it plans to sell an all-electric vehicle in the U.S. and Japan by 2010, a move that may position the Japanese automaker to be the first to market here with a zero-emissions vehicle.

The announcement signals what appears to be a major sea change at Nissan. The company’s chief executive, Carlos Ghosn has not been a proponent of alternative fuel vehicles, such as gas-electric hybrids until now. He had called them “niche products” that serve a limited purpose in meeting strict emissions standards in places like California. In a statement on Tuesday, Nissan said the all-electric vehicle will roll out first in the U.S. and Japan, and then globally in 2012.

Nissan’s new product plan involves the launch of 60 all-new models in the next five years and more than 15 new technologies every year from 2009. “Nissan intends to be the breakthrough leader,” the company said in a statement.

Ghosn told The New York Times on Tuesday that the company decided to speed up development of battery-powered vehicles because of high gas prices and environmental concerns. “What we are seeing is that the shifts coming from the markets are more powerful than what regulators are doing,” he said.What this means to you: Your future Nissan may be one of the first all-electric vehicles to market. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent

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