Nissan Wants More EVs, Might Produce an Electric Sports Car

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
nissan wants more evs might produce an electric sports car

Is there a Nissan competitor to the BMW i8 in the works? A senior executive has hinted there might be.

Speaking to Auto Express, senior vice-president Shiro Nakamura said an electric sports car is one option the automaker is considering for its upcoming modular vehicle platform.

The key, said Nakamura, is the placement of the batteries, as placing them under the floor (like in the Nissan Leaf) would raise the ride height too much — something they wouldn’t be worried about if it were a utility-minded model.

Nissan engineers are currently mulling ways of integrating a battery pack into the new architecture.

As one of the first automakers to bring a fully-electric vehicle to market, Nissan wants to branch out and become a bigger player in the EV game. That means joining other automakers in planning a line of electric models, rather than a one-off.

“We’re the leading EV manufacturer, but I don’t think we can make it just off one EV, so we want to grow the portfolio – that’s our next plan,” Nakamura told Auto Express. “It could be a crossover, it could be a sports car; we see much more opportunity for EVs than just a hatchback.”

Nissan’s past concept cars could hint at its future offerings. In 2011 it unveiled the Esflow electric sports car concept, and last year showed off the Gripz — a hybrid sport crossover — at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Whatever form it takes, Nakamura figures a non-Leaf Nissan EV won’t be available for another five years.

Nissan embarked on the modular platform trend via a joint venture with its strategic partner Renault in 2013. The next generation of the platform is being designed to accommodate a range of propulsion sources, a cost-saving measure being adopted by other automakers, among them Subaru.

[Image: Nissan Motor Company]

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Apr 08, 2016

    Nissan is clueless. They went from #1 to #3, and will soon be around #6 in the market. More Model Xs were shipped in March than Leafs. It's becoming apparent that Mr Musk is right about the value of a direct sales and support model - my dealer experience with my former Leaf was pretty bad. They would have preferred I bought any other car, and they clearly didn't understand how to deal with mine.

    • See 2 previous
    • Shaker Shaker on Apr 09, 2016

      " dealer experience with my former Leaf was pretty bad..." SCE: did you have any major problems with your Leaf that required dealing with the Service Dept.?

  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Apr 09, 2016

    How... wait. What? Batteries would raise the ride height? How do they explain the BMW i8, Fisker Karma, Tesla Model S and the slew of converted PHEVs like the A3 and Prius that are just fine? I feel like they are building a collection of excuses to ditch the Z and replace it with a CUV. I think they have other options, personally. The Maxima and Z are knocking on heavens door. They should combine the two and make a performance hybrid. If they can make a sporty AWD 4 door with a high performance hybrid drivetrain.... kind of like a cross between an A7 and a Model S... I think they will have something interesting.

  • MKizzy I can't round a corner without seeing at least one new Sportage so good for Kia even with its insectoid face. Perhaps Kia's music/HVAC swap system would work better if each set of controls had its own easily discernible color scheme.
  • RHD They were excellent quality cars, extremely dependable, great on gas, utilitarian and handled better than a lot of everything else on the road. It's too bad that so many cars now have overwrought styling, unnecessary plastic fake vents, wide pillars blocking the view, unnecessary 18+ inch wheels, and so on... a good, honest, simple, reasonably comfortable car like this Corolla is, unfortunately, a thing of the past.
  • RHD The price will also be a huge factor. Most websites expect it to start at around 50K. Add in the dealer fees, taxes, markup, options and assorted nonsense, it'll probably easily pass 60 grand. A Chrysler Pacifica starts around 38K. The real test will be if anyone with nostalgia for the old VW Van/Kombi/Station Wagon/Bus/Etc. will be motivated to actually buy one. Once the new and unique wears off, its innate excellence (or lack thereof) will determine its long-term success.
  • Carlson Fan I think it is pretty cool & grew up with a '75 Ford window van so I can attest to their utility. $60K is a lot for any vehicle and I'm not convinced EV's are ready for prime time for a number of reasons. It would make an awesome 2nd or 3rd vehicle in a multi-car household but again the price would keep most from considering it.I agree with the other comments that those who have to have it will buy it and then sales will drop off. Offer a panel version for the commercial market, that could have possibilities.
  • Wjtinfwb Panther Black? or Black Panther? Shaped like a decade old Ford detectives sedan? Seems like an odd way to send out your marquee car...