Nissan CEO targets 500,000 electric batteries a year

BEIJING Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:48am EDT

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Nissan (7201.T) Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said on Thursday that his Franco-Japanese alliance is ready to produce a half million electric car batteries annually, but market conditions would determine when.

Nissan Motor Co. will begin to sell electric cars in Japan in the second half of next year, followed a year later by partner Renault SA (RENA.PA), and then global mass production in 2012, Ghosn told reporters in the Chinese capital.

"We have the loans, we have the agreements with different governments and we are engaging 500,000 batteries," said the executive, referring to annual production capacity.

But Ghosn did not say when that capacity would be reached.

Nissan and Renault will only sell the new technology in countries where state subsidies are offered, an important financial crutch that will be needed for at least another three years, Ghosn said.

"I will not sell an electric car that is 25 percent more expensive than a gasoline powered one," he said.

Ghosn has said before that his companies aim to take the lead in the zero-emission electric vehicle field with a global roll-out of battery-run cars by 2012.

($=6.83 yuan)

(Reporting by Kirby Chien; editing by Simon Jessop)

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