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Monday, August 26, 2013

Nissan to expand EV lineup to 5 models all with Wireless Charging

Nissan Motor Co. says it will expand its global EV product line to five models.

The company has not announced what additional models it is planning and has not specified a timetable. But it indicates Nissan is taking a long-term view of the slow-growing EV market.

"We haven't announced what models they will be, but we have plans for five," Carla Bailo, senior vice president for R&D at Nissan Americas, told reporters. "The others will come in due time."

Bailo said future Nissan-brand EVs will use inductive charging. Inductive chargers enable an EV owner to park on top of a charging mat to recharge a battery wirelessly without hooking up a connector.

"Once that technology is ready, we will use it across our brands," she said after her presentation.

Previously, Nissan had said inductive charging was critical to differentiate the luxury EV planned for the Infiniti brand.

Production of the cargo van begins later this year in Europe, initially for the European market. But this spring, Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen said the Infiniti EV will be delayed. Infiniti said it wanted to wait for improvements in inductive charging technology.

The company spent $1.8 billion to move U.S. production of that model to Smyrna, Tennessee, and to construct a lithium ion battery module plant there. That factory, which began production in January, gives Nissan the capacity to build up to 150,000 Leafs a year and 200,000 batteries.

Sales of the car in the United States have more than tripled since last year, when it was still being imported. Through July, Nissan dealers sold 11,703 Leafs, up from 3,543 in the first seven months of 2012.

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