Hybrids Replacing Diesels in European Market, Says Renault-Nissan CEO Ghosn

Renault-Nissan will be bringing its new hybrid technology with “e-Power” transmission to Europe to respond to diesel’s decline in the market, CEO Carlos Ghosn said yesterday in Paris.

The “e-Power” transmission had been introduced a day earlier by Nissan for its Note subcompact hatchback sold in Japan. The new gasoline-engine hybrid technology provides a hybrid car with an electric generator powered by a small gasoline engine, instead of by the large battery pack used in the all-electric Nissan Leaf.

The e-Power system is much cheaper than all-electric cars and never needs charging. Fuel economy ratings suggest that its carbon dioxide output compares well with popular small cars like the Toyota Yaris.

Nissan-Renault and other automakers are looking into replacements for diesel cars in the European market and overseas. Germany and the European Union have been putting more pressure on the industry to find diesel alternatives in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal.

“It’s definitely cost-competitive with diesel,” Ghosn said, adding that the new technology “absolutely” would be viable for the European mass-market. Ghosn was speaking to Reuters at the New York Times Energy for Tomorrow conference in Paris.

Nissan would not confirm Ghosn’s comment about e-Power coming to Europe.

“There are no current plans for e-Power in Europe. But the technology can be adapted to other markets and (vehicle categories), so we wouldn’t rule it out,” a Nissan spokeswoman said.

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Nissan said that Japanese prices for its e-Power Note will start at 1.77 million yen ($17,140), costing percent more than the gasoline version.

Renault-Nissan plans to bring an all-electric vehicle to China for as little as $7,000 to $8,000 after government incentives, Ghosn also said yesterday.

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