2011 Nissan Leaf

Nissan announced it will build a plug-in hybrid car and a new front-wheel drive hybrid car by the end of fiscal year 2016 as part of its six-year environmental plan.

Edmunds Auto Observer says the front-wheel drive hybrid should be a midsize car and is slated for 2013 or 2014, while the plug-in hybrid will likely be a small car and will be introduced in 2015. Nissan discontinued the Altima Hybrid sedan after the 2011 model year, so for 2012, shoppers in the market for a Nissan hybrid can only choose from the Infiniti M35h Hybrid, which is a luxury large car. Nissan’s all-electric Leaf is another option, but is much smaller than the Altima Hybrid.

The Japanese automaker says in a statement its new environmental plan will focus on the “reduction of carbon footprint, shift to renewable energy and an increase in the diversity of resources used by Nissan.”

Nissan says in its Nissan Green Program 2016 plan that its goal is to sell 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles through its partnership with Renault, a French automaker. The Wall Street Journal reports that Nissan also aims to increase the use rate of recycled materials to 25 percent, as well as drop CO2 emissions by 20 percent.

The automaker is also working on methods that will help increase vehicle fuel economy. “But like other automakers, it is investing in many other efficiency techniques, such as continuous variable transmission, and lighter materials, including ‘ultra high-tensile strength steel’ that will be used in cars starting in 2013,” CNET reports.

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