The planned three models are known as: the Leaf, an electric Infiniti luxury sedan based on the Leaf, and a small electric van that will be sold as a commercial van and taxi. But what will EV No. 4 be?
Nissan is now debating that internally -- as well as what might come after No. 4. Insiders say the company is weighing three possibilities for the U.S. market:
-- One candidate is a small city car -- smaller than the entry-level Nissan Versa but larger than a Smart car. Nissan is developing the next Smart model for Daimler AG in a partnership between the two automakers, but Nissan officials say there is no plan to create a Nissan version of the Smart.
-- The second option is an electric sports car, heralded by the sleek Esflow Concept car unveiled at the Geneva auto show in March. Nissan sees that path as a good way to sharpen the image of EVs in general in the minds of doubting consumers. But Nissan is focused on introducing high-volume products, and sports cars are typically niche products.
-- The third idea would be a crossover vehicle, represented on stage last month at the Tokyo Motor Show by the Townpod EV Concept . The concept, which debuted at the 2010 Paris auto show, is best described as a small minivan with ample cargo space and easy-access wide-swinging rear doors. Some U.S. executives believe the roomy utility of the Townpod makes it more appealing for the crossover-rich U.S. market.