Nissan Motor Co.’s premium Infiniti brand plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid model before an all-electric car amid consumer concerns over the range for vehicles powered solely by electricity.
The company is prioritizing the plug-in hybrid, which runs primarily on electricity with a back-up gasoline engine, Johan de Nysschen, president of the unit, said in an interview in Beijing yesterday. Electric vehicles remain part of the carmaker’s long-term plans, he said, without being more specific.
Infiniti said last year it delayed the production of an all-electric sedan based on the LE concept car shown in 2012, to allow more focus on building the brand and expanding its production footprint. The car was originally planned for introduction this year.
Premium auto brands are introducing electrified vehicles to fend off competition from Tesla Motors Inc. and meet rising demand for more environmentally friendly cars. Volkswagen AG’s Audi, the world’s second-largest luxury automaker, is adding plug-in hybrid versions of existing models, while Bayerische Motoren Werke AG has increased production of its i3 electric city car by 43 percent to meet demand that has exceeded the carmaker’s initial expectations.
Infiniti’s de Nysschen declined to say when the company will start producing the plug-in hybrids.
— With assistance by Jie Ma