Nissan Motor, the world's largest maker of battery-powered cars, expects to sell 1.5-million zero-emission models with partner Renault in five years, betting consumers will accept cars that need charging.
"We want to take leadership in these technologies," Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn told reporters in Yokohama, Japan today. The automaker plans to invest more than 300 billion yen (Dh14.41 billion) in environmentally friendly technologies by March 31, 2017, he said.
Nissan sold about 15,000 of its Leaf compacts as of this month and is banking on battery-powered cars to help compete with Toyota Motor Corp, maker of the best-selling hybrid Prius since 1997. Toyota plans in January to start selling a plug-in hybrid that can run on batteries charged from an electrical outlet or on the gasoline-fuelled engine.
"I understand we were not the first in developing hybrid cars," Ghosn said. "That's completely fine, as long as we are the leading company in developing all-electric cars."
Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan plans to add three all- electric models to the Leaf by 2016 and a plug-in hybrid by 2015.
The auto industry is entering an age of "mega competition" that means carmakers must focus on hybrids and plug-in vehicles, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. President Osamu Masuko said earlier this month.
The carmaker, which begins US sales of its "i" battery-powered minicar in 2012, last month said it aims to ship its Minicab-miev to Nissan next fiscal year as the companies expand their alliance.
Nissan rose 0.9 per cent to 698 yen as of the close of trading in Tokyo. The shares have dropped 9.7 per cent this year, compared with a 14 per cent drop for the Nikkei 225 Stock Average.