Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was on Wednesday quoted as saying his company is working hard to develop the next generation of smaller, lighter vehicle batteries – a technology that holds promise for electric cars as well as for hybrids.

He also said Nissan and partner Renault are moving ahead with studies on making a $US3,000 (EUR2,230) car for the Indian market, The Associated Press (AP) said.

Nissan Motor last year introduced a hybrid vehicle with nickel-metal hydride batteries, but licenses the technology from Toyota.

Ghosn reportedly believes that Nissan’s investment in green technologies will help it narrow the gap or even put it ahead of competitors down the road.

“We continue on the lithium ion battery. We think for us it’s a competitive advantage,” he told the news agency during a press conference in Bangkok. “We have a lot of technology is this area, and we think this is going to be very helpful, not only for hybrids but also for electric cars.”

Ghosn reportedly said Nissan was serious about going one step further and introducing vehicles powered only by electricity.

“If you have an efficient battery for a hybrid, why not go all the way and go for electric cars?” he reportedly said. “It has zero emissions of anything.”

AP noted that electric cars have failed to catch on because they are expensive, difficult to recharge and travel limited distances but several automakers companies are trying to develop them for the mass market.

Ghosn reportedly said Nissan was currently negotiating a deal to put a fleet of electric cars in the Japanese market in cooperation with local governments, which would need to provide necessary infrastructure such as charging stations. He declined to give a timeframe or specific number, saying only “hundreds.”

He stressed that Nissan was investing in various kinds of green technologies, not just focusing on hybrids, which has been the primary focus of Toyota, according to the report.

“We said from the beginning, we need to develop all the technologies,” he said. “We can’t afford to squeeze any one of them: hybrid, fuel cell, electric, diesel, biofuel. Because we still don’t know how the market will react,” he told the Associated Press.

Ghosn also said Nissan and Renault are contacting suppliers in India and analysing all aspects of producing the $3,000 car after Indian automaker Tata revealed a similar project.

“If it makes sense, we’ll be ready to start it,” he told the news agency, but did not give a timeframe.

He reportedly added if the companies decide to make the car, they will make two different versions from the same platform, one for Nissan and one for Renault.

Another report said Nissan Motor and Renault reckoned India’s Mahindra would be a natural partner for the $3,000 car project.

Renault is also focused on selling its low-cost Logan, which was introduced to India in April and Mahindra is the firm’s local partner in producing that.

Renault, Nissan and Mahindra are also building a 902-million-dollar factory together in the southern Indian city of Chennai.