Nissan could offer plug-in hybrids by 2016

PHEV tech will likely be used in something larger than the Leaf EV

Nissan is recharging the idea of a production plug-in hybrid model. The Japanese automaker may start making a plug-in hybrid by as soon as late 2015, with deliveries to start in time for the 2016 model year, Green Car Reports says, citing an interview with company executive Andy Palmer. Those comments go against what Nissan said during the North American Auto Show in January.

Palmer didn't specify what class of vehicle the plug-in hybrid would be, but he said battery-electric vehicles are best suited for cars 3,850 pounds or lighter, according to Green Car Reports. That would imply that the plug-in hybrid powertrain may be used for a mid-sized sedan or a crossover vehicle. Either way, a Nissan PHEV may pair the Nissan Leaf's 108-horsepower electric motor with a gas engine. Whether Palmer's projected timeframe was more of a ballpark estimate is anyone's guess, as the company hasn't made official plans for a 2016 model-year plug-in hybrid, Nissan spokesman Tim Gallagher wrote in an e-mail to AutoblogGreen. Either way, feel free to join us in the comments below.

Nissan is coming off its best-ever sale month for the Leaf, which has moved about 115,000 units around the world. Domestic sales of the Leaf in May rose 46 percent from a year earlier to a monthly record 3,117 vehicles. Through the first five months of the year, Leaf sales increased 36 percent, to 10,389 units.

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