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Electrifying a model overhaul


Newcomers may include Nissan's first commercial all-electric vehicle which goes on sale in California in 2010. Nissan Australia boss Dan Thompson says other world markets including Portugal and Israel will get it in 2012. Nissan Australia is keen on selling it, but Thompson says this will require a strong business case to its Japanese parent.

For that to happen Nissan will need a partnership deal with the Federal Government, power companies or the commercial sector.

Lithium batteries will power the electric car, with Nissan by-passing conventional hybrid technology with batteries and a small fuel motor.

Nissan has been showing several electric concept cars, including the Cube, for some time.

The model influx will see long-awaited replacements for two of Nissan's oldest models in service, the Patrol and 350Z. Nissan in Japan wants to launch 60 new vehicles and introduce 15 new technologies within five years.

Thompson says it will be at least a year before the company completes a business study into the viability of selling Nissan-branded, Renault-supplied vans in this country.

Meanwhile, Nissan has expanded its four-wheel-drive Navara long-bed ute range, adding three king cabs and a single cab chassis.

The king cab utes are powered by Nissan's 2.5-litre turbo diesel (126kW, 403Nm) with a choice of standard six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic. The manuals have an extra long overdrive top gear to improve fuel economy.

The king cabs seat four — just — with seats that can be folded away when not in use to improve luggage space behind the front seats. Access to the rear is improved by doing away with the B-pillar and adding hinged back doors.

The four-wheel-drive single cab, with a 2.5-litre turbo diesel (106kW, 356Nm) only comes with a manual gearbox. King cabs are priced from $38,160, the single cab from $33,660.