BEIJING -- Nissan Motor Co. is stepping up its global electrification blitz by adding a full-electric version of the Sentra small sedan in China as it targets global sales of 1 million electrified vehicles in five years.
The sedan, called the Sylphy Zero Emission, will be the first made-in-China electric vehicle sold by the Japanese brand in the world's biggest auto market. The Sentra is sold as the Sylphy in China.
Nissan earlier introduced a version of the first-generation Leaf EV in China, but that car was sold under the Nissan-Dongfeng joint venture's entry-level domestic Venucia brand.
Nissan said it has no immediate plans to launch EV versions of the Sylphy in other markets, where it's sold under other varying nameplates, including North America.
The Sylphy EV shares a platform with the flagship Leaf. It will get a locally sourced 38-kilowatt-hour battery, compared with the Leaf's 40-kWh power pack. Styling cleaves close to the regular Sylphy sedan, with tweaks such as a closed grille to differentiate it as battery-driven.
The new car, unveiled Wednesday at the Beijing auto show, will deliver a range of 210 miles under China's rating system.
Nissan also will introduce the redesigned Leaf in China. Both cars go on sale here this year and are two of four EVs Nissan is directing at China, including two for Venucia.
Aiming to stay at the forefront of the electrified vehicle race, Nissan plans to launch eight new EVs globally and hit annual sales of 1 million electrified vehicles in five years. Some 20 electrified models, including EVs and vehicles using the company's e-Power extended-range hybrid setup, are earmarked for China in the next five years, Nissan said.
"We're unleashing a new era of EVs in China, providing Chinese customers with electrified products that are safer, more stable and offer a better customer experience," said Jose Munoz, Nissan's chief performance officer and China chairman.
"It speaks to our ambition to become China's EV leader."
Nissan's growth strategy focuses on heavy investment in three pillars: electrification, autonomous driving and connectivity. Bold electrification goals make up the bulk of the new targets, as Nissan steps up its response to an onslaught of new entrants in the EV segment.
Japanese archrival Toyota Motor Corp., for example, said last fall it would launch 10 EVs by the early 2020s and sell 5.5 million electrified vehicles, including hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, by 2030. This month, Germany's Volkswagen said it will expand EV production to 16 factories worldwide by 2022 and make up to 3 million a year by 2025.
Nissan's sales goal of 1 million electrified vehicles by March 31, 2023, includes full electrics and hybrids. The tally will get a boost from the introduction of Nissan's e-Power setup, a range-extender hybrid system it is already selling in Japan and will go to other markets.
Sales of vehicles equipped with e-Power are expected to account for more than half of the total.
Electrification is expected to blossom quickly in Japan and Europe and more slowly in the U.S. and China. But it will account for a much bigger slice of sales everywhere, Nissan said.
In Japan and Europe, electrified vehicles are expected to account for up to half of Nissan's sales by 2025. In the U.S., they are expected to be between 20 and 30 percent; and in China, between 35 and 40 percent.