Nissan Motor will release two new electric vehicles and add a hybrid version of its mainstay compact as early as fiscal 2016, aiming to broaden its selection of environmentally friendly vehicles. The Japanese company is the top automaker in electric-vehicle sales by volume, having moved more than 150,000 units of the Leaf worldwide since its 2010 release.
The Leaf is Nissan's sole electric passenger vehicle. The automaker plans to roll out a successor with a longer range than the existing Leaf's 228km per charge and a price under 2.87 million yen ($23,600). Nissan is also developing another electric vehicle with Mitsubishi Motors. This minivehicle-based offering will have a shorter range than today's Leaf but will likely be priced around 1.5 million yen.
An electric vehicle needs about 300 yen worth of electricity to travel 200km. The cost is about a quarter the price of gasoline needed to drive the same distance. But 200km is just about as far as an electric car can go on a charge -- a range much shorter than the 700km of its gasoline counterpart. The limited range and relatively high prices have been challenges for electric vehicles.