Nissan heads towards electric future

TOKYO: Following Nissan’s unveiling of its Hyper Force concept vehicle at the Japan Mobility Show 2023, the company says it intends to offer a wide range of vehicles that will cater to the needs of its future customers at a more sustainable and competitive price point.

Its CEO, Makoto Uchida, said Nissan’s latest concept vehicles were to provide an insight into how the company intends to add value to its products for its customers in future.

The Japanese automaker recently unveiled its Hyper Force Concept electric vehicle (EV) alongside the previously introduced Nissan Hyper Punk and Hyper Tourer. The Hyper Adventure and Hyper Urban concepts were not present at the show.

Uchida pointed out that the world is looking to electrification to reduce the impact of global warming, and the trend is picking up pace.


“Nissan needs to adapt to the current phenomenon and this is our vision,” said Uchida in reference to the company’s current lineup of concept vehicles.

On how the company intends to tackle the wave of China-based EVs being exported worldwide, Uchida said the company is looking at ways to improve its operations and become more price-competitive.

“We will announce this plan soon,” he said, adding that Nissan is aiming to produce EVs that people are willing to pay for.

With Renault and Mitsubishi in alliance with Nissan, more news about their EV lineups would be forthcoming, said Uchida.

Hyper Punk Concept.
Hyper Punk Concept.

He said China’s dominance in the EV space was a “wake-up call” for the company and all automakers.

“People’s expectations are constantly changing and Nissan too needs to change. This is why we have showcased our abilities through our concept vehicles.”

Nissan believes the use of solid-state batteries (ASSB) could help it become more price-competitive. Such batteries are said to be cobalt-free and would cut production costs by as much as 65%.

Additionally, they would be about 30% faster to charge, be less susceptible to extreme temperatures and have a higher charge density.

“The (ASSB) battery’s temperature will be maintained at 60 degrees Celsius when used in an EV,” said Uchida who pointed out that even at 100 degrees Celsius, there were no adverse effects with very little battery degradation.

Hyper Tourer Concept.
Hyper Tourer Concept.

“We will have a working concept of the ASSB by 2024 and market availability by 2028,” said Uchida.

The development of the new battery comes as Nissan targets to phase out its internal combustion engines by 2030.

At present, not all markets around the world are ready for EVs and that’s why the internal combustion engine will still be around for a number of years.

Adding a dose of reality, Nissan president (Asean) and Nissan Motor Thailand president Isao Sekiguchi said the company is still working on petrol-powered vehicles, while diesel-powered ones are taking a back-seat.

“We are still placing our priority on petrol-based technology and will only apply electrification as and when a certain region begins to change its legislation and move towards carbon neutrality.

Sekiguchi (right) posing with the Hyper Punk Concept.
Sekiguchi (right) posing with the Hyper Punk Concept.

“Clear EV policies, much like those of Thailand and Indonesia will pave the way forward for EV adoption,” said Sekiguchi, adding that Hong Kong’s roughly 70% EV adoption rate is indicative of such policies.

Japan’s EV adoption is still extremely low although the country has a Total Industry Volume of five million vehicles - even with an ageing population.

Japan’s lack of space and the predominant use of a mechanised parking system are some reasons for the current state of affairs, according to Sekiguchi.

Nissan Hyper Tourer Concept (JMS 2023) - 08

“In most countries, people can park their EVs and charge, but in Japan, it’s very difficult when many parking facilities use a mechanised system.”

For now, Nissan intends to maintain the use of its e-POWER hybrid technology as a transition towards full electrification - including the use of synthetic fuels.

“At the moment, we can adopt synthetic fuels (also known as carbon neutral fuels) to help pursue decarbonisation activities,” explained Sekiguchi.

Long-range capability is still needed in some regions such as the Australian Outback where diesel power vehicles remain relevant as they allow people to travel great distances.

Nissan Hyper Tourer Concept (JMS 2023) - 02

As for most parts of the world, Sekiguchi questioned the need for a large battery to allow users to go the distance.

“A larger battery may provide a longer range, but it will be oversized and too heavy, so it won’t be practical. According to our (Nissan’s) survey, our customers are charging at home and travelling less than 100km a day,” he said.

Sekiguchi said it made more sense for EV users to be “educated” in ways that would help maintain an EV’s battery’s lifespan over a long period and this is where ASSB would come into play.

Technology would be a key component in fostering EV adoption, said Nissan’s global design senior vice president Alfonso Albaise.

“This is why our design language has taken on a more digital approach in terms of look and feel,” said Albaise.

“Our products are meant for the next generation of customers and they will fundamentally shape the company (Nissan).”

Nissan Hyper Force Concept (JMS 2023) - 01

Albaise acknowledged that Nissan is embracing sustainability in its operations.
“Traditionally, companies were obsessed with how fast they can make something. Now, it’s about how fast they can un-make it,” said Albaise, referring to a company’s ability to re-purpose elements within a product.

For the next few years, Nissan is committed to offering new and renewed models in its combustion engine line-up. It will only kick off its EV offensive by 2030 as it pursues the long-term goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

Autos Nissan