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Nissan: Zero Emissions, No Exceptions

By John Rockhold

Tags: Nissan, gas prices, electric vehicles,

Every time a Nissan executive gives a major speech, the automaker sounds more and more serious about electric cars. Last May the company announced plans to be the first automaker to sell a mass-produced all-electric and zero-emission car by 2010 (geez, hurry up and get here already!). But a recent speech from chief executive Carlos Ghosn provided more details.

“I want a pure electric car. I don’t want a range extender. I don’t want another hybrid,” Ghosn said after a dedication ceremony for the automaker’s new North American headquarters in Franklin, Tenn. “It’s not going to be zero emissions in certain conditions. It’s going to be zero emissions.” 

Not only does that statement set a substantial goal, but it’s a challenging distinction between Nissan’s direction and that of General Motors and Toyota, with their focus on gasoline-electric hybrids, which can still use fossil fuels to varying degrees. 

Another Nissan executive, senior vice president for finance Dominique Thormann, stressed that the automaker isn’t on this track for green credibility. Thormann said Nissan won’t sell the cars unless it can do so at an affordable price, and make a profit. 

For decades, Nissan has built reliable, high-quality cars that are fun to drive. The automaker does what it does very well, without overextending itself. I still fondly recall my college car, a Nissan 240SX. Oh, how I would love to have an electric version of that now! 

While many automakers talk green but don't necessarily back it up, I have little or no reason to suspect this from Nissan. If this talk of affordable, zero emissions, all-electric cars comes to fruition, it’ll be a monumental shift for the auto industry. 

Thanks to AutoblogGreen for the head’s up. To read more about Nissan’s plans, check out the two articles below from The New York Times.

Nissan Plans Electric Car in U.S. by ’10 

Nissan Says Electric Cars Will Be Quickly Profitable 

John Rockhold is a green car enthusiast and Contributing Editor for MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find him on .

t brandt
2/16/2012 10:20:15 PM

I wanted to post this after reading David Borden's article on test driving the Nissan Leaf, but the system isn't allowing comments there for some reason....Thanks, David, for your impressions of driving this new vehicle. Electric cars have their niche for the short commute, particularly good for stop & go type traffic...You ask the rhetorical question of how does your range diminish as you use the AC, but don't supply the answer. With a max range of 100mi, how far can you go on a very cold nite with headlites, heater & radio on?... Also, someone please show me what I'm doing wrong in my calculations: Nissan says the 80kW motor with batteries holding 24kW-hr has top speed of 90mph and can go 100 mi. But it seems that it would take 88kW-hr to go that far given those specs....also @15c/kW-hr and batteries holding 24kW-hr, a full charge should cost only $3.60, not $4.50 as stated above. There could be an inefficiency of 25% to make up the difference. If so, then that 100 mi trip would cost $16.50. A standard ICE vehicle getting 25mpg & gas @$4/gal would only cost $16.00 for 100mi. ..Is somebody exaggerating the efficiency of this vehicle or are my calculations wrong?

regina rockers
7/26/2008 10:43:31 AM

Great article! I am very encouraged about the direction some automakers are headed with producing fuel efficient vehicles. It is very exciting to consider that in a relatively short time, 2010, there may be a zero emission vehicle available. I have been considering replacing my 2000 Toyota Camry with a hybrid. I share the same feelings of Mr. Rockhold, that I wish Nissan had a zero emission vehicle available now. I applaud Mother Earth News for keeping us updated on this topic. Keep up the good work.