Next Nissan Navara, GT-R and 370Z could be electrified

25 October 2017
, CarsGuide

Nissan's push into electrification continues to gather pace with the launch not only of the new battery-only Leaf but further products using the company's e-Power platform.

e-Power is a series hybrid, using a conventional engine to charge a small-ish battery which in turn drives an electric motor. The first of this type was launched in 2016 to the Japanese market in the Honda Jazz-sized Note and has been a breakout success in its home market.

Speaking with CarsGuide at the Tokyo Motor Show, head of Nissan's electric business Daniele Schillachi announced that the Serena people mover will also pick up an e-Power option and that Nissan is aiming to have an EV in all categories in the near future.

Executive Vice President of Product Engineering, Hideyuki Sakamoto said he thought that the GT-R and Z replacements will feature electrification.

Nissan's Chief Product Officer, Phillipe Klein, says that within the decade, the tide will turn against conventionally-powered cars. He also reiterated Schillachi's e-Power comments.

"e-Power is not a full EV, it gets its power from the engine. But it's a vehicle that's completely driven by the electric motor. This is a good transistion. You can expect us to deploy it more widely."

The expected shift to electric was echoed by Ivan Espinosa, VP of Product Planning, noting that the cost of regulation on conventionally-powered cars is rising, which will accelerate the transition.

"Customer interest in EVs is growing. They're getting into the technology and hearing about it from their friends. With the new Leaf, the customer response has been very positive. It's a completely different experience because it's great to drive. We believe the shift [from conventional to electric] will happen quickly."

Another Nissan exec had exciting news for enthusiasts. Executive Vice President of Product Engineering, Hideyuki Sakamoto said he thought that the GT-R and Z replacements will feature electrification.

"GT-R and Z car are our symbol. We want to launch a new vehicle, however timing is a little bit critical. We're now studying the utilisation of e-Power to create a more aggressive, dynamic performance than a conventional powertrain."

He wouldn't be drawn on timing, but confirmed new models were at the study stage.

"We are studying some of the control logic for the handling under high speed conditions. The technology is available for a new type of sports car."

Technically we are studying [an e-Power ute], but nothing is decided.

Fans of Nissan's utility, the Navara, might also find some hope if they're waiting for an e-Power version.

"Technically we are studying [an e-Power ute], but nothing is decided. A heavy vehicle and towing can be covered by e-Power - it can cover the weak point of the EV. We have not announced anything."

Hybrid technology has already been exploited for hyper-performance cars such as the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918. A Nissan GT-R with electric power would be weapon.

The speed of Nissan's move to electrification will become clearer when the company makes a "mid-term" announcement in the next few months.

Would you buy an electric Navara? Tell us what you think in the comments below.