The New York Times reports, "The Nissan Motor Company plans to sell an electric car in the United States and Japan by 2010, raising the stakes in the race to develop environmentally friendly vehicles." The Times says "The commitment…will be the first by a major automaker to bring a zero-emission vehicle to the American market," but we've reported that several mainstream manufacturers have electrics in the works. There are even rumors of an electric BMW heading towards production. John O'Dell of GreenCarAdvisor.com told the Times that "Nissan is upping the ante tremendously. They are the first to put it on the line and say we’re going to have an all-electric vehicle for a certain market by a certain date.”
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn told the Walls Street Journal that, "not all of 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 allows the vehicle to continue going after the initial plug-in charge expires."
Several electric cars are likely to beat Nissan's effort to market. The Tesla Roadster already has. By 2010, the next-generation Toyota Prius will also be on sale, and early indications say it may be capable of nearly 100 mpg. Still, Nissan's efforts are to be applauded…even if we're not sure of the difference between a hybrid and an electric car with a gas-powered engine as a "range extender."
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