The Tesla Roadster proved that electricity and sport can mix well, but so far there's been little traction for hybrids in the performance space. Lexus, and soon Mercedes Benz, use the systems as power-adders for their larger sedans, but sports cars have been markedly devoid of hybrid assist. That could all change according to the latest rumors surrounding the Nissan 370Z.

Talk is emerging from Japan that the newly updated Z-car could sport a high-performance plug-in hybrid system as early as 2011. The same system will likely premier in the Infiniti M range, later moving to the Z. If the hybrid Z does hit the market by 2011, it would be the first hybrid sports car, barring some intervening upstart.

The same 3.7L VQ-series engine that powers the car now would be the main source of motivation, but would reportedly be supplemented by a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor using a two-clutch system, though the transmission will almost certainly be automatic-only.

With the high-capacity lithium battery pack and plug-in capability, the car is expected to hit 35mpg in combined use, a definite improvement from the mid-20mpg range at the hands - and feet - of most users.
Via: 370Z