While some auto industry stakeholders have objected to stringent proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandates, Nissan has taken the opposite stance with its Green Program 2016.

Yesterday the Japanese automaker announced it will outdo every competitor in its environmental initiatives including sales of 1.5 million zero emissions vehicles by the end of fiscal 2016.

As of the end of September Nissan had sold about 16,000 Leafs, so predictions along with Renault to multiply this one-hundredfold in six years could be seen as ambitious to say the least.

Nonetheless, the company has pledged 70 percent of its annual research and development budget toward environmental technologies to make it so.

The Leaf – which last week was named 2011 GreenFleet Electric Vehicle of the Year – is expected to be built in Smyrna, Tenn., by end of next year, and will have three more all-electric stablemates within half a decade, Nissan says.

"More consumers are demanding products in line with their values, including cars and trucks with a lower carbon footprint. At the same time, we are using technology to make our factories greener and more efficient," said Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn. "Nissan wants to be part of the solution toward a sustainable society - for the sake of the planet and as a significant competitive advantage and a strategic differentiator in the global manufacturing sector."

In among the commitments, Ghosn confirmed Nissan aims to introduce a plug-in hybrid model by 2015, in addition to the 2014 Altima hybrid which will use a Nissan-developed drivetrain instead of one licensed from Toyota as the canceled limited-production car does now.

Three more battery electric models besides the Leaf are also projected to be available by the 2017 models year, and Nissan – like GM and others – is also hedging its bets by developing a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV).

Target: first place

Following are details as listed by Nissan under NGP 2016:

1) No.1 in Zero-Emission Vehicles: cumulative sales of 1.5 million units of zero-emission vehicles by 2016 across the Renault-Nissan Alliance. On behalf of the Alliance, Nissan will lead the development of an all-new fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) together with strategic partner, Daimler.

2) Leading Fuel Efficiency: 35 percent fuel economy improvement compared with 2005 on a corporate average by launching products delivering class-leading fuel efficiency across a wide range of segments in Japan, China, Europe and the United States such as:
• An all-new front-wheel drive hybrid model
• An all-new plug-in hybrid model based on Nissan's unique technology
• Introducing a next-generation continuously variable transmission (CVT) and reach 20 million units of cumulative CVT production since Nissan's first launch in 1992

3) Leading low corporate carbon footprint
Reduce CO2 emissions corresponding to corporate activities by 20% per vehicle compared with 2005 through:
• Widening the scope of measurable objectives, including logistics, offices, and dealerships in addition to production sites
• Introduction of renewable energy sources for manufacturing and related facilities

4) Leading closed-loop recycling through being the first in the auto industry to set a recycling objective and adopt a comprehensive closed-loop recycling scheme, including steel, aluminum and plastic. Highlights include:
• Achieve a recycled resource usage rate of 25 percent by 2016
• Apply recycled materials from production waste or end-of-life vehicles and parts into new vehicles
• Reduce consumption of rare earth elements

Further information about the Nissan Green Program 2016 can be found here .

Nissan .