May 7, 2009

Nissan, others, extend auto efficiency

Japanese automaker Nissan said it is developing an electric car with a rating of 367 miles per gallon, a quantum leap forward in efficiency for automobiles.

The car could be on the market as early as the fall of 2010, USA Today reported Thursday.

The rating is based on how many gallons of fuel a power plant would need to burn to recharge the car's batteries.

Ford Motor Co. is also developing an electric compact sedan that should be ready for market in 2011. Early models have obtained a 357 miles per gallon rating, the newspaper said

Nissan Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn predicted electric-powered vehicles would account for 10 percent of Nissan's sales volume by 2015. Initial marketing will concentrate on cities with recharging stations in place to accommodate the new power systems.

Electric automobile sales will take off if prices are reasonable and driving range can accommodate customers, Mike Omotoso at consulting firm J.D. Power and Associates told the newspaper.

Omotoso predicted sales could reach 100,000 by 2015. General Motors Corp. could sell 45,000 Volts in 2011 alone, he said.

Nissan said the range of the electric car on one charge was 100 miles.