DETROIT -- Nissan Motor Corp. said yesterday that it had developed an electric car that can be fully recharged in 15 minutes, a significant improvement over electric car batteries announced to date.
But industry experts say the Japanese automaker's latest entry in the race to develop electric cars faces numerous technical hurdles before the battery in the vehicle could be sold widely.
Nissan's FEV, or Future Electric Vehicle, would be powered by a nickel-cadmium battery that could be 40 percent recharged in six minutes, but recharging would require a special, high-energy power source, not a normal electric outlet.
Nissan and other automakers have been devoting greater efforts to electric-car research because of tougher clean-air laws. California, for example, requires that 2 percent of all new cars sold in 1998 have no tail-pipe emissions. By 2003, 10 percent of California's new cars will be covered by the law.
The problems faced by the nickel-cadmium battery are more severe than those of prototypes designed by other automakers, which use lead-acid batteries, the type commonly used in today's vehicles.
Nissan said that the four-passenger car has a top speed of 81 miles per hour, with a cruising range of 100 miles at 45 miles per hour or about 70 miles at 60 miles per hour.