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Nissan to launch only electrified cars in key markets in 2030s

Aggressive initiative part of company's aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050

Nissan, known for its early embrace of electric vehicles, says it will develop more efficient and cost-competitive versions through battery innovations.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Nissan Motor is set to make all of its new vehicles launched in key markets electrified by the early 2030s, the Japanese carmaker announced Wednesday, as it seeks to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 amid increasing pressure from investors and other stakeholders for a strong environmental focus.

The move follows those of other global automakers making aggressive pushes for electrification, recently highlighted by General Motors announcing it would launch 30 electric vehicles by 2025.

Nissan, known for its early embrace of electric vehicles, says it will develop more efficient and cost-competitive EVs through battery innovations, while also emphasizing renewable energy sources to enhance decarbonization.

"We're determined to help create a carbon neutral society and accelerate the global effort against climate change," Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said in a statement. "Our offering in electrified vehicles will continue to expand around the world, and this will make a major contribution to Nissan becoming carbon neutral."

Nissan expects to introduce only electrified models -- which include purely electric vehicles as well as hybrid cars with motors and engines -- in Japan, China, the U.S. and Europe. Its new target to reduce its carbon footprint to net zero by 2050 was set by reviewing vehicle life cycle, which includes raw material extraction, manufacturing, use, and the recycling or reuse of vehicles.

The automaker has been enhancing electrification of its vehicles. The effort is visible not only in its EV model Leaf, which was first launched in 2010, but also in its e-Power hybrid system based on technologies adopted in the Leaf. In November 2020, Nissan unveiled a new model of its bestselling Note compact, making it available solely as a hybrid and ending a gasoline-powered version of the model.

Unlike hybrid technologies of Toyota Motor and Honda Motor, which use a combustion engine and an electric motor to run their vehicles, the e-Power system uses an engine to generate electricity and an electric motor to get vehicles to move.

In May, Uchida vowed to make 60% of Nissan's cars in Japan, 23% in China and 50% in Europe electrified by fiscal 2023. The company previously also said that all of nine new models to be launched in China by 2025 will be either electric or hybrid.

In fiscal 2019, Nissan sold 204,000 pure electric and e-Power vehicles, which accounted for 4% of the total global unit sales.

Major global automakers are putting more stress on electrification, prompted by the growing threat of climate change and Tesla's increase in market capitalization. General Motors CEO Mary Barra, speaking during the annual CES technology show earlier this month, emphasized her ambition to convert all the company's vehicles to electric models. South Korea's Hyundai Motor Group said in December that it would introduce an EV-only platform this year that will use its own battery technology to cut production costs.

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