pioneer, one of the first automakers to dive into the space back in 2010 with its Leaf hatchback, and it just announced a $17.6-billion (2 trillion yen) investment to add 20 electrified vehicles over five years to ensure it remains synonymous with EVs.
To whet the appetite, the Japanese automaker unveiled four presumably electrified concept cars: a pickup, convertible, SUV and a small crossover that could be the next-generation
First, the truck. The Nissan Surf-Out is Nissan’s take on an electric pickup truck with a cool spoiler sprouting from the single cab, a raked windshield, and sleek lines. It is shown as a two-seater, a disappearing body style among modern pickups that nevertheless carries some retro good vibes and allows for more bed space given the small truck’s footprint. Up front, the lights form a giant oval, ringed in black to match the truck’s cladding.
The Nissan Hang-Out is the modern electric utility vehicle concept, with a squared-off SUV shape—think the discontinued-in-America Nissan Cube—and a sliding side door like a minivan. Opening that big door reveals a spacious interior with a flat floor and four theater-style seats that can swivel to face each other and a system to reduce vibrations to limit motion sickness for those facing backward. It is shown with a space-age glossy black roof rack—after all, this is an off-roader.
Among these concepts, perhaps the most surprising is the convertible dubbed the Nissan Max-Out. This electric two-seat droptop uses interesting lines for concave sides and a silhouette that looks like the vehicle is lower at the wheels and rides high in the middle. It is shown without a top, and is said to have all-wheel drive.
Is This the Next-Generation Nissan Leaf?
The Nissan Chill-Out is likely the next-generation of the Leaf that dates back to 2010 and has kept Nissan a continuous player in the EV field since. The Chill-Out concept is a small electric crossover and uses the same CMF-EV platform as
the 2023 Nissan Ariya
, right down to its
twin-motor all-wheel-drive system
. That connection makes the Chill-Out the closest of the four concepts to production. The sleek crossover has a wide body and gives the appearance of a large greenhouse. It looks like it would slot under the Ariya, being slightly smaller.
All four concepts use solid-state batteries, seen as the future breakthrough for EVs because they are smaller, lighter, and denser which will give them more range, charge faster, and reduce cost considerably. Depending on how soon any of these new vehicles arrive—or if they arrive at all—figure that more conventional battery tech is possible; while solid-state batteries are progressing, none are ready for prime time in a production vehicle, though Nissan offered up a plan for that which is covered below.
Nissan’s Ambition 2030 Has Lofty EV Goals
“Ambition 2030” is the name of Nissan’s accelerated electrification plans that will see the launch of 23 new models for the Nissan and
brands, of which 15 are new battery-electric models.
Most of the introductions will come in the next five years, with 20 new EV and e-Power hybrid models to hit the market—nine of them pure EVs. The goal: half of Nissan’s vehicle mix will be a hybrid or pure EV by the 2030 fiscal year. By comparison, General Motors plans to launch
30 electric vehicles globally by the end of 2025
. Ford is investing $22 billion through 2025 on EVs.
Adoption of Nissan EVs will vary by region, says Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida. Europe, which has embraced the technology quickly, will see electrified vehicles accounting for more than 75 percent of its sales in five years, compared with 55 percent in Japan and 40 percent in China.
In the U.S., which has been relatively slow to adopt the new tech, Nissan expects 40 percent of its sales to be electrified in the 2030 fiscal year.
Nissan to Build More, Better Batteries
Like other major automakers, including GM,
, Nissan is also working with partners to build its own battery cells and packs with plans to increase its global battery production capacity to 52 GWh in 2026 and 130 GWh in 2030.
GM has four joint-venture battery plants planned. Volkswagen is planning at least six global factories.
Ford is spending $11.4 billion
on a second plant to make electric pickups as well as three gigawatt factories to make its own batteries.
Nissan is working to improve its lithium-ion batteries and introduce cobalt-free technology to reduce the cost by 65 percent by the 2028 fiscal year. Most industry players are looking to reduce the high cost of batteries to make EVs as affordable as their combustion-engine counterparts, which would remove a major barrier (perceived or otherwise) to consumer reluctance to buy.
Nissan was one of the first automakers to develop lithium-ion batteries and aims to be among the first to launch vehicles with solid state batteries. Nissan hopes to have a pilot battery plant running in Yokohama as early as 2024 and launch vehicles with solid-state batteries by the 2028 fiscal year.
Nissan, like many of its competitors, see solid-state batteries as a long-term solution for longer range at less cost. Nissan’s propriety solid-state technology will reduce charging time to one-third and reduce the cost of battery packs to $75 per kWh in 2028 and further reduce the cost to $65 per kWh after that, achieving parity with ICE-powered vehicles.
GM is working on next-gen lithium-metal batteries
that are technically not solid state because partner SolidEnergy uses liquid electrolytes, but the result is similar: twice the energy density, range up to 600 miles, and cost is reduced by 60 percent.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has his own ideas of how to advance batteries in the future.
Like many companies, Nissan would like to be carbon neutral by 2050.
More Vehicles to Get Nissan ProPilot
Look for Nissan to expand its ProPilot driver assistance technology to more than 2.5 million Nissan and Infiniti vehicles by the 2026 fiscal year as engineers continue to develop autonomous vehicle tech. By 2030 Nissan hopes to equip new models with next-generation Lidar.
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