The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Nissan will develop new hybrid vehicle technology on its own, thereby ending its reliance on a joint agreement with Toyota.
The new compact car models—to be introduced in 2010—will be equipped with lithium-ion battery systems and include a plug-in hybrid vehicle model, according to unnamed sources cited in the report.
Nissan is currently introducing a hybrid version of the Altima based on Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology early next year. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has maintained that hybrids are “a terrible business prospect” and has viewed hybrids as a solution for niche markets such as California. (Earlier post.)
The demand for hybrid models in the context of rising fuel prices has apparently led Nissan to reconsider its earlier stance.
Toyota’s hybrid systems will be used in about 100,000 units of the Altima Hybrid. Since Nissan now intends to mass-produce its own models, it is considering using Toyota’s systems on just the Altima model sold in the United States.
Toyota likely will agree to Nissan’s decision. A representative for Toyota said it would not provide its hybrid systems to Nissan for other models than the Altima unless Nissan requested it to do so.