Nissan May Offer 'Range-Extended' Electric Car Option

The range extender would allow the car to travel an additional 300 miles before refueling or recharging.

Published: 16-May-2008

TOKYO -- Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn this week declared that he wants the company to lead the world in producing all-electric, zero-emission cars. But he is hedging his bets.

In an interview Wednesday, Mr. Ghosn said not all the electric cars Nissan manufactures will be purely electric or emission free. He said Nissan would make some models available with an optional "range extender" -- a gas-powered engine that recharges the battery and keeps the vehicle moving after the initial plug-in charge expires. Nissan, he said, aims to sell vehicles that are "pure electric, zero emission. But you always have the possibility of having a range extender."

Such a device would let Nissan's electric car, to be introduced in limited numbers in the U.S. and Japan by 2010 and marketed globally in 2012, compete with similar vehicles planned by rivals General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. Nissan is Japan's No. 3 auto maker by sales volume, behind Toyota and Honda Motor Co.

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