Nissan's electric dreams for Nismo performance brand
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Nissan's Nismo is headed for an electric future, with the brand's executives saying "there's no question" the performance-focused sub-brand will be electrified.
Nissan Australia's managing director, Stephen Lester, has told CarsGuide that his brand's broader push to electrify a third of its annual sales volume would allow Nismo to benefit from the performance perks that comes along with EV and part-electrified powertrains.
"We haven’t spoken much about e-Power, but by 2022 we’re going to have about a third of sales with some sort of electrified powertrain, and e-Power is most certainly going to be a part of that," Lester says.
"With the cost of these powertrains (decreasing), they’re only going to become more and more mainstream, and one of the exciting things that comes along with that is the performance.
"I don’t think there’s any question that (Nismo and e-Power) are going to marry up."
The first example, of course, is the brand's Nissan Leaf Nismo; a Japan-only version of its EV city car that ups the performance focus with sharper throttle response, a sportier suspension setup and aerodynamic alloys fitted with better, more grippy rubber.
But while that car lacks any outright performance upgrades, sharing the same battery pack and electric motor outputs as the standard Leaf, Lester suggests that future models would likely focus on using electrification to squeeze more speed out of Nismo models.
It is widely thought that the next GT-R, the R36, will arrive some sort of electrification, with Nissan board members pointing to the fact that the brand is moving its petrol engines to e-Power hybrid setups, and the brand has previously shown electric Z car concepts, too.
While Lester wouldn't be drawn on future product, the brand's Australian chief points to the "natural connection" between Nissan's performance history and the potential of electrified powertrains.
"I don’t have any specific plans to disclose on Nismo models of the future, but for a brand as steeped in motor racing history as Nissan and having the strong recognition of Nismo, there’s only a natural connection to (cars like) the Nismo Leaf, which you see in Japan," he says.
"At the moment it's not planned, but the reality is that electrification allows more from a technology standpoint and a performance standpoint."