Nissan may have fallen behind its closest rivals in the race to launch a hybrid car but it won’t be making the same mistake with its new generation of all-electric vehicles. The carmaker plans to introduce its first all-electric car in 2010 for fleet customers in both Japan and the U.S., and the first sales to private individuals should start by 2012.

The new cars will feature lithium ion batteries developed under a joint-venture between Nissan and NEC, reports Automotive News, and the first cars will be a range of compact models. The information comes from Nissan's manager of advanced vehicle engineering Masahiko Tabe, who spoke with reporters at last week’s Geneva Motor Show.

"The first production vehicles will be for regional areas like California," Tabe explained. “We later expand the EV all over the world.” Tabe also revealed that engineers were currently testing a Nissan Cube (pictured) packed with lithium batteries and an electric powertrain and that a new concept will be rolled out at the upcoming New York Auto Show.

According to the source, Nissan will unveil a battery-powered concept car that hints at the vehicle's future styling and technology. The new electric Nissan will have a driving range of 100 miles and an estimated top speed of 75mph. The batteries will take about eight hours to fully charge.

This isn’t the first Nissan electric concept to be presented in recent times. The carmaker previously showcased its Mixim concept, a supermini with an electric motor mounted in each wheel giving AWD traction.