A Wholesale Shift to EVs is Not a Given

Nissan and EVs…what is planned.

The Nissan Qashqai.
The Nissan Qashqai utility vehicles.

A complete switch to full electrification is planned by many automakers, with some expecting to reach that goal as early as 2030. Making the switch means investing tens of billions of dollars in research and development, something manufacturers such as GM, Toyota, and Ford have committed to do.

Making the transition to electric, though, is not something that will occur with ease. First, the charging structure in the U.S. is woefully unprepared to handle the volume. Billions of dollars in plant upgrades and a greatly expanded charging network are necessary to handle the increased capacity. Second, shoppers must be convinced that full electrification is the way to go. Many Americans are rightfully skeptical, considering the cost of making that switch prohibitive as well as the practicality of connecting to charging stations to get it done.

Rare Earth Materials

There are other factors, too, that could slow progress to electrification, including the availability of rare earth materials such as neodymium, terbium, and dysprosium used in permanent magnet motors. Although not all manufacturers use such motors, copper is widely utilized in induction motors. Regardless, all such materials are not easy to come by and many are in hostile environments, such as China.

Nissan, though, may offer a solution that at least some may find palpable. Instead of a full switch to all-electric, the company believes that the internal combustion engine will live on. In particular, Nissan believes that ICE and electric is the way to go, therefore it is developing many more hybrid models to accommodate that effort according to Automotive News.

Nissan’s quest may prove most logical too as it considers customer concerns, including convenience and cost. Still, like other automakers, regulators may have the final say, especially in places such as the United Kingdom where new ICE models will eventually be banned.

Nissan Hybrid Models

But it is in central Europe and elsewhere where Nissan may find the going smooth. Among the near-term models on the way include the Qashqai compact e-Power, sold as the Rogue Sport in the U.S. The model isn’t promised for the U.S. market, but its possibility exists. The Juke, which had been sold in the U.S. market, continues overseas. It, too, will receive a hybrid variant. Lastly, the X-trail e-Power is planned. All three hybrids hit the market this year.

What is especially noteworthy about Nissan’s e-Power technology is that the 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine does not supply a direct link to the wheels. Instead, it serves as a charger for the battery system as it charges the motor that turns the wheels. Thus, the driving experience is much more like operating an electric vehicle with all the torque at the ready.

More EVs

Besides the aforementioned gas-electric models, Nissan has other EVs in the mix…up to 15 at present count.

This summer, an upscale Ariya midsize crossover arrives, a full-electric vehicle. Nissan also plans to replace the Leaf compact with a small crossover. That model will be built in England and arrive in 2024.

Nissan also has the benefit of tapping its French partner, Renault, for new models. Specifically, an all-electric Townstar compact van will replace the current e-NV200. The van is based on the Renault Kangoo.

Also, Nissan’s tiny Micra car is due for replacement over the next two or three years. The next-generation model will be all-electric and based on a common Alliance small car platform. The Alliance is composed of Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi, representing one of the largest automotive manufacturing entities in the world.

Looking Ahead

Of course, political winds could shift the goal of full electrification considerably, although the “climate change” and “global warming” mantras loom large. With a significant war ongoing in the Ukraine, the entire automotive supply chain is once again facing an upheaval, which builds on the semi-conductor shortage that has persisted since the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

See AlsoBy the Numbers: 2022 Nissan Altima

Photos copyright Nissan Motors.

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *