London is among the cities vying to conduct trials with a family of Nissan plug-in electric cars.
Nissan wants to introduce the cars from 2010. Its chief executive Carlos Ghosn said: 'We have not yet got to the level of talking to the mayor's office. At this stage it is just a feasibility study, but London is definitely among the cities interested.'
The plan is that both Nissan and Renault will build electric cars using a shared battery system supplied from Japan.
The first cars will be Nissans and will go on general sale in America, particularly California, to help meet Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's tough new emissions regulations.
Israel and Denmark are also interested. Nissan has conducted a deal with the Israeli authorities, giving it exclusive rights to sell electric cars for 10 years.
The aim is that there will be a network of battery stations, similar to today's petrol forecourts, where drivers can pull in and recharge or swap batteries if they are running out of power.
'We are aiming for a minimum range of 100 kilometres (62 miles),' said Ghosn. 'It is important that the cost of the car without batteries has to be the same as a normal car, and we know how to do it.
'Then the cost of the battery and charge has to be cheaper than refuelling a gasoline car, and with oil at $120 a barrel, that gets easier all the time.
'The public are scrutinising the environment and the price of oil more and more. In the past, electric cars were seen as boring, huge and heavy, but we are going to make sexy cars with attractive designs and, above all, zero emissions.'