Nissan Motor Co on Tuesday launched its first gasoline electric car developed in house, saying the high end Fuga hybrid gets listed mileage of 19.0 km/litre in Japan, comparable to a compact car.
The car, Nissan's top of the line sedan, starts at 5,775,000 yen ($71,470). The Fuga is sold as the Infiniti M in the United States and a few other markets, and the hybrid M is due to be rolled out in the United States and Europe in coming months.
Nissan lags rivals Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co by more than a decade in offering a proprietary hybrid model. Instead, it is aiming to be the leader in the zero emission arena with top shareholder Renault SA by introducing the first mass scale electric car this year.
Nissan said its one motor, two clutch hybrid system would achieve far better fuel economy, at a much lower technical cost compared with hybrid leader Toyota's complex, two-motor "series parallel" system.
The Fuga hybrid gets the best fuel economy among high end gasoline electric sedans, topping the Toyota Crown hybrid's 15.8 km/litre, according to Nissan.
Nissan's hybrid system has a structure similar to that of Volkswagen AG , mounting an extra clutch that separates the electric motor from the engine to allow for driving using only electric power when the battery is charged.
Nissan has been selling a small number of Altima hybrids in the United States using Toyota's hybrid system to clear regulations in California.
The Fuga/Infiniti M hybrid uses lithium-ion batteries produced by Nissan's battery unit, Automotive Energy Supply (AESC), held jointly with NEC Corp.