TOKYO -- Nissan Motor has started taking preorders in Japan for limited editions of its first new battery electric car in a decade.
The Japanese carmaker is pinning hopes on the Ariya, its first all-electric crossover SUV, to pep up its EV range.
The Ariya "will be Nissan's flagship car," said Asako Hoshino, executive vice president, at an online news conference. "We would like to make our EV lineups more attractive, kick-starting with this brand."
Nissan said it would also do more to attract customers unfamiliar with electric vehicles, opening a website on Friday to allow Ariya preordering and virtual driving using augmented reality technology.
The Ariya is Nissan's first new electric vehicle in more than 10 years, excluding its Chinese business. Its first all-electric vehicle, the Leaf hatchback, was launched in 2010 as the first mass-produced EV.
"We have believed that EVs would support future mobility," said Hoshino, adding that Nissan is the only automaker trying to reduce carbon emissions throughout the life cycle of a vehicle.
Adoption of electric cars is one of the major challenges toward carbon neutrality in Japan. EVs made up just 0.6% of the country's new car sales in 2020, according to the International Energy Agency. Many argue that a lack of charging infrastructure and robust sales of hybrid vehicles, which combine gasoline and battery power, are the main reasons.
Nissan's chief operating officer, Ashwani Gupta, told Nikkei Asia in a recent interview that the Japanese carmaker is set to share close to 70% of key EV components with its alliance partners, France's Renault and Japan's Mitsubishi Motors, to lower EV production cost.
Nissan in January announced it would electrify all new models -- including battery-powered EVs as well as vehicles with hybrid engines -- in global key markets by the early 2030s.
On Friday Nissan said a two-wheel-drive Ariya with a 63-kwh battery will be available for customers in Japan this winter, with three other limited models following later. They will be priced from 6.6 million yen ($60,000).
The prices for later standard models will start at approximately 5 million yen after available government subsidies.