Nissan will add 15 new hybrid models to its global lineup by 2016, as well as several more plug-in electric cars, it said yesterday.

Toshiyuki Shiga, the company's chief operating officer, made the commitment at a briefing in its headquarters town of Yokohama in which it analyzed progress toward its environmental goals for 2016.

Nissan is right on track, said Shiga, on its plan to boost the fuel efficiency of its total lineup by 19 percent between 2005 and 2016--even while greatly increasing production.

Indeed, the new 2013 Nissan Altima was nominated for Green Car Reports' 2013 Best Car To Buy award because its combined fuel-economy rating--33 mpg--exceeds that of any other non-hybrid mid-size sedan on the market.

Nissan now has two hybrid systems, both using a single electric motor located between the engine and transmission.

The more powerful version, as fitted to rear-wheel drive cars like the Infiniti M35h Hybrid luxury sport sedan, uses a 50-kilowatt (67-hp) motor. The company says that car is the fastest full hybrid sedan sold today.

An upcoming smaller hybrid system for front-wheel drive platforms uses a supercharged, 240-hp version of the company's 2.5-liter four, paired to a 25-kilowatt (34-hp) motor driving through a modified continuously variable transmission (CVT).

That powertrain will be launched in the upcoming Infiniti JX Hybrid luxury crossover, and will also likely appear in a replacement for the now-discontinued Nissan Altima Hybrid sedan, sold in limited numbers in North America only.

That newer powertrain was first revealed in the infiniti Ellure concept car at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.

But Nissan is unlikely to develop "dedicated hybrids," like the Toyota Prius, that have no gasoline versions in the model line.

While it will launch a variety of upcoming models with a hybrid option, its dedicated green vehicle remains the Leaf battery-electric car, which will spawn new models as well.

The first two will be the all-electric e-NV200 small commercial van, and the upcoming 2015 Infiniti LE all-electric compact luxury sedan.


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