TOKYO -- Nissan Motor has set a goal of raising annual global sales of electric vehicles sixfold to one million units by fiscal 2022, mostly cars powered by the Japanese automaker's proprietary hybrid system.
The company said Friday it plans to develop eight new models of all-electric vehicles, including a minicar model that will be released in Japan at the start of the 2020s.
Automotive electrification is happening fastest in Japan and Europe, and Nissan intends to make the most of the experience and technologies gained with its all-electric Leaf car, Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein told an audience at the company's Yokohama headquarters.
Klein predicted that over half of the targeted sales for the year ending March 2023 will consist of hybrids that run on its proprietary e-Power powertrain, which uses a gasoline engine to generate electricity for the drive motor. Unlike conventional hybrids, the engine does not drive the wheels.
Of the eight new cars that are planned, Klein said two will be all-electric versions of existing models sold in China, and the remaining six will be mostly electric-only models, including types of sport utility vehicles. The target does not include plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.
Nisan sold about 5.82 million vehicles worldwide in 2017, including combined sales of 163,000 electric vehicles and e-Power hybrids. As part of its global sales plan, the company will make e-Power hybrids currently sold only in Japan also available in the Southeast Asian, Chinese, and South American markets.
Together with French partner Renault and Japan's Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan forms part of the world's biggest automaking alliance by sales.
The automaker also announced Friday that it intends to offer 20 models of vehicles equipped with self-driving technologies by 2022. The company aims to sell 1 million such vehicles that year by offering them in 20 markets. Nissan expects to introduce a self-driving technology for cars traveling on multilane freeways within the year, starting in Japan.
The company said fiscal 2022 is also the year by which it intends to incorporate internet connectivity in new models of its mainstay vehicles.
Nissan is not alone in shifting focus to electrics. All of the leading automakers have set ambitious sales targets, foreshadowing heated competition in markets around the world.
Toyota Motor expects sales of electrified vehicles to reach 5.5 million units by around 2030, accounting for over 50% of its sales volume. Honda Motor wants electrified vehicles to make up two-third of its global sales in 2030. And Germany's Volkswagen plans to introduce 50 models of fully electric vehicles by 2025, boosting sales to 3 million units, representing 25% of its global total.