Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 13:39 UK

Nissan eyes an electric car boost

Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn holds up a battery unit
Nissan wants to be the market leader in electric cars

Japanese carmaker Nissan plans to make 100,000 electric cars a year by 2012, as it aims to become the first auto firm to mass produce the vehicles.

Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn said the company would unveil its first electric car in August of this year, with sales to begin in 2010.

Mr Ghosn, who also heads sister firm Renault, said both companies planned to produce three different electric cars.

Nissan is trying to turn around its fortunes and return to profitability.

Against a backdrop of industry-wide falling global sales, it made a loss of 233.7bn yen ($2.4bn; £1.5bn) in the year to 31 March.

'Different strategy'

While Japanese rivals Toyota and Honda are instead focusing on hybrid cars, which run on both petrol and battery power, Nissan is aiming to lead the way on vehicles that run solely on electricity.

"We have a different strategy from other manufacturers when it comes to electric cars," said Mr Ghosn.

"We are the only one working to mass-market EVs [electric vehicles] and investing for mass marketing - which is a risk, but we think it's a bet in the right direction."

Nissan said it aimed to build the electric cars in Japan, Europe and the US.

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