Plug-in hybrids will clearly be all the rage among carmakers for the next couple of years. While the number of high-volume battery-electric vehicles today can be counted on one hand–BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S–virtually every global automaker now has plug-in hybrids planned for launch between 2015 and 2020.
Nissan plans to start of plug-in hybrid production remains slated for late 2015, presumably coming to market in one or more model-year 2016 vehicles.
Andy Palmer, Nissan’s head of global product development, declined to comment on specific models or vehicle types, he noted that Nissan sees a “natural dividing line” between battery-electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains, based on vehicle weight.
Batteries are suitable to power vehicles weighing 1,750 kg (3,850 lbs) or less, he said. Above that weight, plug-in hybrids simply make more sense on a cost and capability basis.
Nissan’s electric vehicles are likely to remain in the compact to mid-size passenger car segment, or smaller–along with more specialized vehicles like the Nissan e-NV200 electric delivery van that just entered production in Spain.
Plug-in hybrids, on the other hand, could be used in mid-size or larger crossover utility vehicles, larger sedans, and luxury vehicles from Infiniti.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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