Production of the firm's five-door electric hatchback will start in 2010

Nissan will give its new global electric car its first public airing when the company opens its new global headquarters in Yokohama on August 2.

Nissan's EV, billed as a medium five-door hatchback with dedicated body styling, will appear first as a prototype. The real car will make its debut at the Tokyo motor show in October.

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Production will kick off at Nissan's Oppama plant in Japan in winter 2010, but Nissan says other production bases around the world could also get the new EV.

Nissan will start with a production rate of 50,000 units per year, ramping up the build rate as mass-marketing begins around 2012-13. The EV motor will be produced in Yokohama and the inverter will initially be made at Nissan's Zama plant.

Power will come from a lithium-ion battery, produced by Nissan's affiliate AESC in Zama. Nissan claims that compared to a conventional li-lo battery, its unit has higher reliability and performance, with twice the power and energy.

Nissan is also pushing ahead with the next Micra, coyly described as its 'global entry car'. This will launch in spring 2010. Nissan will produce this car both in India (for European markets) and Thailand (for Japan) but China and two other as-yet-unnamed nations will also make the car that's on line to sell one million units a year after manufacturing is fully ramped up.

"The key challenge lies in bringing a consistent, high level-quality standard while keeping the price of the car competitive and affordable," commented Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn.

"I recently enjoyed testing a prototype which offers the roominess, technology and comfort of a B-segment vehicle with the fuel efficiency and overall cost of ownership of a global entry-segment vehicle."

Europe is also line for the next Patrol; Nissan is redesigning its enduring mammoth off-roader primarily for Middle East duty, but Europe will also get the revised model for the first time in 2010.

Peter Nunn

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