The executive vice-president of Nissan R&D, Mitsuhiko Yamashita, expects the fourth-generation of lithium ion batteries to yield ranges of about 400 kilometers (248 miles) by 2015. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, that's about four times what the current first-gen packs are capable of. Yamashita-san also says the second generation should arrive by 2010 and be good for 170 klicks (105 miles) while we can expect 300 km (186 miles) third gen by 2012.

To those of you who are saying to themselves right now, "What is he even talking about? The Tesla Roadster gets almost that kind of range now with the version 1.5 drive train." (Oh yes, I can hear you). Well, I assume he is talking about slightly different chemistry than Tesla is using as well as a pack small enough to fit something like the Nissan Mixim concept (pictured above). Had we been there in Paris with him, we would have asked how many watt hours per kilogram he was talking about but, alas, we were not. He did give some production numbers though, saying they would start making 13,000 units next year in their joint venture with NEC and ramp up eventually to an annual amount of 65,000 units.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]

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