* To sell Infiniti electric vehicle in 2014, launch 4th EV
* Targets bringing 15 new hybrids to market by 2017
* Nissan's Leaf EV has been criticized in US for battery
TOKYO, Dec 12 Nissan Motor Co said it
will extend its offering of hybrids with 15 new models by 2017
and introduce new electric vehicles, as Japan's No. 2 automaker
looks to move ahead of its competitors in low- and zero-emission
The company announced on Wednesday it will sell an electric
version of its Infiniti luxury car in 2014, with a fourth model
coming in 2016.
Nissan's latest push away from gasoline engines comes as it
struggles to sell its Leaf electric car in the United States as
EVs by it and other makers, including General Motors Co's
Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, fall short of consumer
Introduced in 2010, the Leaf has run up against complaints
in the United States, where some drivers have said the vehicle's
battery capacity shrinks too quickly.
Winning customers over to its hybrids and EVs in the United
States may help shield Nissan from any downturn in sales in
China, where it is more exposed than home rivals Toyota Motor
Corp and Honda Motor Co.
Nissan last month cut its full-year net profit forecast by
20 percent after car sales in China tumbled amid anti-Japanese
protests over a territorial dispute.
The company's shares gained 0.9 percent in Tokyo on
Wednesday, compared with a 0.5 percent rise in the benchmark
Nikkei 225 index.