Nissan to power on
Nissan says entry-level electric cars offer the most scope, writes Neil McDonald
AHIGH-end electric-powered Nissan is not on the company’s radar. Despite reports the Infiniti Essence concept car from last year’s Geneva Motor Show was a pointer to an EV supercar, the company’s senior vice-president of product development, Andy Palmer, says the biggest scope for EV power is entry-level cars.
‘‘Can you do an electric sportscar? Of course you can,’’ Palmer says. ‘‘Tesla does it. Do we have a plan to produce a Tesla? No we don’t.
‘‘The closest we have is the Infiniti Essence, but we don’t have a plan to do it.’’
However, Palmer does admit that a luxury Infiniti EV is part of Nissan’s plans to roll out four new electric cars, including the Leaf.
Palmer says he does not think Nissan will follow the path of the electric Mercedes-Benz SLS with a similar electric supercar.
‘‘I wouldn’t say we’re going ultrahigh end,’’ he says. ‘‘We’re not going to do a Tesla.’’
Palmer says the first four Nissan electric cars are relatively conventional to acquaint consumers with the idea of an electric car.
‘‘Obviously as you move forward there will be different opportunities for different architecture.
‘‘The fact you haven’t got a petrol engine allows you to do some interesting things.’’
Palmer says the company would like to exploit the sporting nature of an electric car, which delivers maximum torque from standstill.
‘‘ Obviously you can do other things. Something like the Land Glider gives you some clue of the kind of flexibility you get through the technology. It gives you an opportunity to push the boundaries.’’
Apart from electric cars, Nissan plans to continue to roll out hybrids, both conventional and plug-in.
It has also just showcased a DSGstyle seven-speed gearbox in its Infiniti M hybrid in Japan and will continue to extract efficiencies out of its existing petrol and diesel engines.
Ideas: Nissan Land Glider shows the design flexibility of electric cars.