Performance and enthusiast cars are still part of the plan for Nissan and solid-state batteries are key to making them viable in Europe in the EV era, according to company executives.
As the Nissan GT-R supercar bows out after a lengthy 13 years in production with no replacement lined up, and with tight emissions rules keeping the new Z sports coupé out of Europe, the Japanese brand looked set to continue without an enthusiast offering in this market. However, Nissan executives have confirmed to Autocar that, thanks to advancing battery technology, performance cars are definitely “on the table”.
Nissan recently unveiled a quartet of concept cars. The Chill-Out compact crossover is the closest to production, as it previews a replacement for the Leaf. It will be an electric crossover based on the same CMF-EV architecture as the Nissan Ariya coupé-SUV and will be built in Sunderland.
The concepts also included the Surf-Out pick-up truck and the Max-Out sports car. When asked how realistic those were, François Bailly, senior vice-president and chief planning officer for the AMIEO region (Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania), said: “We announced 23 new electrified models, 15 of them EVs, and we’ve revealed five so far. The question is: what is the next phase?” Two of those 15 EVs are the Leaf replacement and a successor for the Micra supermini, and the suggestion is there is room in that product plan for enthusiast cars.
As well as for the GT-R and Z, there is a lot of enthusiasm – especially outside Europe – for the Patrol. Bailly told Autocar that the solid-state battery technology Nissan is working on is likely to make these cars possible by giving them the range they need without adding excessive weight.
Bailly even went so far as to confirm internal discussions are under way on a potential electric follow-up to the GT-R: “In the end, it will be a prioritisation so, yes, we’re looking at it. We’re all car people, right?”