The Nissan electric car is one of the latest in a long Nissan line with the Leaf being the latest EV offering. This vehicle is on tour now.
The Nissan company has a long history as one of Japanís top three motor companies. The company has been making trucks since at least 1918 and manufactured arms in WWII. Nissan exported small cars and pickups under the Datsun brand in the 1960s 70s, and 80s. Nissan became a household name, and merged with Renault in 1999. Nissan has had its share of economic woes related to the recession.
More recently, Nissan seems to be working overtime with French partner Renault S.A to develop the Nissan electric car, and perhaps more importantly, electric vehicle infrastructure. These companies have been very busy on many fronts.
Nissan Leaf - over tens of thousands of units sold
Nissan ES Flow concept car
The flagship Nissan electric car is the Nissan Leaf. Nissan and Renault are taking a big shot. We wish them well.
Nissan has released a few details on their concept EV, the ESFlow. This car is said to be designed to hit 60 mph in under 4 seconds and still have a 150 mile range. Looks like a bit of competition for the Tesla Roadster!
Down south, Nissan working with Houston Reliant Energy may soon be constructing more charging stations in that city. It does seem interesting that this is taking place in one of the World Headquarters of the Oil and Gas Business. Maybe oil company staff will be plugging in at charging stations while at work pounding holes in the ground.
Out in the US west, thousands of charging stations are planned to help charge some 4,700 planned Nissan Leaf electric cars. This looks good on paper.
In another forward view, Nissan along with Better Place, is developing battery switching technology. This is like driving into a Quick Lube place. In a minute or so, your drained battery pack is switched out for a fresh one. The stations are strategically planned for testing the concept.
Other worldwide Nissan EV efforts may be checked at Nissan News. Nissan is forging ahead with its charging stations with the support of the US DOE.
Note that this article has focused on Nissan. Renault, Nissanís partner, is a French company. The French effort in the electric vehicle area is also advanced.
The new Nissan battery manufacturing plant at Smyrna, Tennessee, is well underway and on schedule. The plant will have the capacity to produce some 200,000 advanced-technology battery packs per year. Back at the Nissan Leaf plant, plans are in place to ramp up Leaf production to as much as 150,000 cars per year.
To finish the line of Leafs, a $200 million expansion of just the pain shop facility is underway. The expansion includes a new 250,000 sq.ft. (5.7 acre) building in addition to the existing 1.3 million square foot (29.8 acre) assembly plant.
Nissan working with Kansei University in Japan claim to have developed a new device to charge a Nissan Leaf sized pack in 10 minutes! The new device replaces a carbon capacitor with tungsten oxide/vanadium oxide. It could take years however to commercialize the product.
Other Big Plans
CEO Carlos Ghosn says Nissan will put 70 percent of its research money into environmental technologies within the next five years. The company plans to sell some 1.5 million EV units by 2016. Nissan is developing it's own CVT - Continuously Variable Transmission and a light weight "ultra high-tensile strength steel" to be used in 2013 model cars.
Nissan and Daimler aim to produce a fuel cell electric vehicle. The company also aims to recycle 25% of materials and reduce the use of rare earth alloys, while reducing water and energy use.
New Nissan Electric Car - Coming Up
Nissan has announced the Nissan Infinity LE to hit the market in 2014. The new car is to be an upscale version of the Leaf, larger and more powerful. Performance and battery pack details have not been published yet. Price is estimated to be around $47,500.