Nissan Developing Nismo Performance EVs

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
nissan developing nismo performance evs

Nissan has coyly been suggesting that it might someday furnish electrified performance models ever since it released Nismo-badged examples of the humble Leaf for the Japanese market. This was followed by the 2020 Leaf Nismo RC, which served as an experiment to see what would happen if you added a bunch of electric motors in a bid to make the model genuinely fast on a race track.

With the automaker set to deliver 15 new EVs by 2030, there’s been some speculation about how many will boast sporting aspirations. But it looks as though a few might know that Nissan has confirmed its developing Nismo-branded performance electrics for the global market.

In terms of battery electric propulsion, the Japanese marque presently sells the aforementioned Leaf and (delayed) Ayria on the North American market. Meanwhile, its Nismo products are limited to geeked-up versions of the already quick 370Z and GT-R. These models showcase the chasm-like divide between Nissan’s high-performance and EV products in terms of design theory. Saying the company has a long way to go before it can bridge that gap would be an understatement.

But the automaker doesn’t seem interested in building electrified versions of its existing sporting models. Based on a recent interview Top Gear conducted with Nissan’s chairman of Europe Guillaume Cartier during the Monaco Formula E race, the plan is to give the Nismo treatment to its upcoming EVs in order to designate them as higher performance.

“Nismo is an asset that we have,” explained Cartier, “and that’s something we want to revitalise [sic]. And will we have some, let’s say, cars with the derivative Nismo? The answer is yes.”

From Top Gear:

Makes sense, really. Most manufacturers are planning to tap into the ‘fast electric’ segment one way or another: VW has its GTX line, Seat has Cupra (yeah, yeah, ‘entirely separate companies’, we know) Ford has Mach-E… why wouldn’t Nissan use its racing arm to add a bit of pedigree?

“The point is, it’s not a gimmick,” insists Cartier. “To use an English expression, it’s not lipstick on a pig. So that requires some investment to make sure that you bring performance.”

So what does ‘performance’ mean in a Nismo-electric context? “Here it’s relatively easy to understand: specific suspension and powertrain. The point on Ariya, it’s a challenge because already we have a big battery with high performance. So we need to go higher than that.”

It sounds like Nissan could simply re-tune EVs for improved output and slap and slap on a few Nismo emblems before calling it a day. But the automaker has signaled it’s pretty serious about running with all-electric vehicles after recently ending all future investments into developing combustion engines to pursue battery tech. Last month, the automaker also took formal control over the e.dams racing team responsible for its Formula E program so it could “drive our destiny,” according to Cartier.

“We learn as we race, and the relentless pace of technological progression that drives the Formula E championship will provide us with many opportunities to inform and develop even better cars for customers,” Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer, said at the time. “The acquisition of the e.dams team not only reconfirms our long-term commitment to Formula E, but also to the exciting, high-performance world of motorsports competition as a whole.”

[Images: Nissan]

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4 of 17 comments
  • EBFlex EBFlex on May 06, 2022

    California, the stage in which the world can see how bad liberal ideas really are, has "issued a sober forecast for the state's electrical grid, saying it lacks sufficient capacity to keep the lights on this summer and beyond if heatwaves, wildfires or other extreme events take their toll." Yet all we hear about are these garbage EVs that, in reality, do far more damage to the planet than ICE vehicles. This EV fad needs to end. These vanity products are just not ready for prime time. And even if they were, we don't have the infrastructure to support them.

  • JD-Shifty JD-Shifty on May 06, 2022

    I Love how these good folks of Rock Ridge are clutching their pearls over our electrical grid all of a sudden

  • Kat Laneaux What's the benefits of this as opposed to the Ford or Nissan. Will the mileage be better than the 19 city, 24 hwy? Will it cost less than the average of $60,000? Will it be a hybrid?
  • Johnster Minor quibble. The down-sized full-sized 1980-only Continental (which was available with Town Car and Town Coupe trims) gave up its name in 1981 and became the Town Car. The name "Town Coupe" was never used after the 1980 model year. The 1981 Lincoln Town Car was available with a 2-door body style, but the 2-door Lincoln Town Car was discontinued and not offered for the 1982 model year and never returned to the Lincoln lineup.
  • Zipper69 Some discreet dwebadging and this will pass for a $95k Lucid Air...
  • Zipper69 Does it REALLY have to be a four door?Surely a truly compact vehicle could stick with the half-door access with jump seats for short term passengers.
  • ToolGuy See kids, you can keep your old car in good condition.