Carlos GhosnEnlarge Photo
It might be celebrating a global total of 15,000 all-electric Nissan Leafs since the model was launched last year, but Nissan isn’t planning to keep its plug-in technology inside pure electric cars, it has revealed today.
Talking at an event in Yokohama, Japan earlier, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn confirmed that Nissan has been working on a plug-in hybrid model which it plans to bring to market in 2015.
That means that Nissan’s first plug-in hybrid will most likely be a marriage of its new high-mileage hybrid-CVT system and Nissan’s pre-existing Leaf technology.
The big question however, is which vehicle Nissan will introduce as a plug-in hybrid.
Let’s look at the clues.
2010 Nissan Altima Hybrid
2010 Nissan Altima HybridEnlarge Photo
Arguably, It makes sense that a newly redesigned Altima hybrid could be built with the expectation that a plug-in option be offered later on.
Secondly, if Nissan wants to compete in the plug-in hybrid market, it needs a car that can compete directly with the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. An Altima-sized sedan fits the bill perfectly.
Thirdly, a mid-sized car is a lot easier to turn into a successful plug-in hybrid than a compact or sub-compact car. While Nissan’s Leaf is an example of what can be achieved when a car is designed exclusively as a plug-in vehicle, we think Nissan would be hard pushed to successfully build a plug-in hybrid offering more than a token all-electric range in such a small form factor.
As part of the announcement, Ghosn also reiterated the joint goal of the Renault-Nissan alliance to sell over 1.5 million plug-in electric vehicles by the end of the 2016/17 financial year.