I am feeling more and more optimistic that we are going to soon have a decent choice of viable plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). Nissan has now announced that they will have an offering in the U.S. and Japan by 2010:
Nissan Motor plans to sell an electric car in the United States and Japan by 2010, raising the stakes in the race to develop environmentally friendly vehicles.
The commitment – announced Tuesday by Nissan’s chief executive, Carlos Ghosn – will be the first by a major automaker to bring a zero-emission vehicle to the American market. Nissan also expects to sell a lineup of electric vehicles globally by 2012.
In an interview Monday, Ghosn said Nissan decided to accelerate development of battery-powered vehicles because of high gasoline prices and environmental concerns, not just because of the need to meet stricter fuel-economy standards.
“What we are seeing is that the shifts coming from the markets are more powerful than what regulators are doing,” he said.
This marks a dramatic about-face for Ghosn, who had downplayed the idea just a few years ago:
In a 2005 speech to the National Automobile Dealers Association, he called gas-electric hybrids “niche products” useful only to meet strict fuel-economy and emission standards in states like California.
“It wasn’t long ago that Carlos Ghosn was a big naysayer about the role of electric vehicles,” said John O’Dell, senior editor at the auto Web site GreenCarAdvisor.com. “Obviously, something has opened his eyes.”
They have their sights set high:
Nissan, which a decade ago was on the brink of bankruptcy, is the first manufacturer to say it will sell mass-market all-electric vehicles worldwide. The zero emissions refers to those from the car’s tailpipe and not those from the production of electricity used to power the car.
Still, O’Dell said: “Nissan is upping the ante tremendously. They are the first to put it on the line and say we’re going to have an all-electric vehicle for a certain market by a certain date.”
Good stuff. Keep ’em coming. For my next calculation, I need to see how much power I could generate by putting a solar panel on the roof of my electric car and letting it recharge all day…