Nissan Motor has announced a new mid-term environmental action plan, Nissan Green Programme 2010 (NGP 2010) that includes electric cars but doesn't yet count out the conventional internal combustion engine.

Highlights include: incorporating CO2 reduction as one of the key management performance indicators, launch of a "three-litre car" with a target of 2010; a petrol-fuelled car that runs 100km on three litres of fuel; expand availability of flexible fuel vehicles (FFV) within the next three years, launch an electric vehicle early in the next decade; develop Nissan's original hybrid vehicle targeted for launch in FY2010; accelerate development of plug-in hybrid technology and reduce CO2 emissions from global manufacturing plants by 7% compared to 2005 by 2010.

"The Nissan Green Programme 2010 provides a transparent view of Nissan's future commitments to all aspects of environmental management," said chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga. "[The programme] has been designed to address immediate challenges as well as creating the foundation towards a long-term sustainable business model."

Nissan is focused on three core areas related to the environment: Reducing CO2 emissions; reducing exhaust emissions; accelerating recycling efforts.

The programme is specifically focused on reducing CO2 emissions both from products and day-to-day corporate activities.

In order to make reducing CO2 part of the major decision making processes of the company, CO2 has been added to internal management performance indicators. Previously, the indicators were quality, cost and time (QCT). Starting this fiscal year CO2 has been added to create QCT-C.

"Our product development philosophy is to deliver in a sustainable way, the right technology, at the right time, in the right market, and at the right value to the customer", said Carlos Tavares, executive vice president, product planning and corporate strategy. "QCT-C is a key management tool that places CO2 performance at the core of our business model."

For the foreseeable future, Nissan believes that the internal combustion engine will continue to serve as the primary power source for vehicles. Under NGP 2010, the automaker will accelerate development of technologies that deliver improvements to the efficiency of conventional petrol powertrains. For example, Nissan will develop powertrains that support the development of a 'three-litre car'; a car that will travel 100 kilometres (60 miles) using just three litres (about two-thirds of an imperial gallon) of petrol. This product's launch is targeted at 2010, starting from Japan.

Looking ahead, vehicles using electric motors with the power derived from batteries or hydrogen fuel cells will become increasingly important and ultimately may replace the internal combustion engine. Nissan continues to invest substantially into all aspects of electric vehicle technology. Leading that program will be the development of a hybrid vehicle that uses Nissan original technologies for a FY2010 launch target.

In 2007, Nissan will introduce its first hybrid car - the US market Altima sedan - which uses a hybrid system developed by Toyota.

In the early part of the next decade, Nissan will launch the next generation fuel cell vehicle with its own in-house developed stack and a battery-powered electric vehicle. At the same time, Nissan is preparing for a new company to develop, produce and market advanced lithium-ion batteries, a key technological component for all electric powertrains. In addition, it will accelerate development of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

"At Nissan we believe that in order to develop vehicles that are truly environmentally friendly, we need to make significant advances in internal combustion technology while working on electrical power sources in parallel," said Mitsuhiko Yamashita, executive vice president, research and development.