Nissan showed off its latest EV prototype today, a slick four-door, five-passenger hatchback that’s good for 100 miles and tells you when and where to charge up.
Although it’s just a mule wearing a Tiida body, the car provides the best glimpse yet of the production EV we’ll see for the first time Sunday. Nissan plans to offer an all-electric vehicle in Japan and the United States next year, then roll it out globally in 2012.
“Nissan will be a leader in zero-emission vehicles,” Toshiyuki Shiga said in Tokyo, according to Canadian Press. “EV is the answer.”
Although most of the major automakers have promised to put EVs on the road within the next few years, Japan’s No. 3 automaker is placing the biggest bet on the technology. CEO Carlos Ghosn has made it clear he believes cars with cords are the future, and he has made developing such vehicles a top priority both within Nissan and Renault, its parent company. The company reportedly plans to build 100,000 EVs within the next two years. The Department of Energy recently loaned Nissan $1.6 billion to retool its factory in Smyrna, Tennessee, to produce electric cars and the batteries to power them.
The EV we’ll see Sunday will be built in Japan, and it will feature the drivetrain propelling the prototype Nissan showed off today.
Nissan put the 24 kilowatt lithium-ion battery under the floor to maximize interior space. The pack powers a Nissan-designed and built electric motor that produces 80 kilowatts (107 horsepower) and 206 pound-feet of torque. Top speed is 140 kilometers per hour (about 87 mph). Nissan’s EV shares its battery with the electric car Renault is working on, but it doesn’t sound like Nissan is following Renault down the swappable-battery road.
Nissan didn’t say anything about the recharge time for the pack. But when we drove the first-generation Nissan EV prototype in April, Mark Perry, director of product planning, told us the pack recharges in four hours at 220 volts. Plug it into a 110 and you’re looking at 14 hours. If you’ve got a 440 volt line — and Perry says many businesses do — you can get an 80 percent charge in just 26 minutes.
Range anxiety — the fear of being stranded by a dead battery — remains one impediment to the mass adoption of electric cars, and Nissan hopes to alleviate such worries with a car that tells you when and where to charge up. Nissan calls it “EV-IT” and says it will work with the car’s navigation system to:
- Show the driving radius within range under the current state of charge.
- Calculate whether the vehicle is within range of a pre-set destination like your home or office.
- Provide information about available charging stations within the current driving range and provide info about those stations
Drivers also can monitor the state of charge of their vehicle online and by cell phone. For example, when your battery is fully charged, you can get a text message.
Cost is another major impediment to widespread adoption of EVs, and there’s still no word on what Nissan’s electric will cost. Perry told us in April it will be comparable to Nissan’s family sedans. The Altima starts at about $20,000 and the Maxima starts at $30,000. The EV will qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit. Perry said it won’t carry the price premium often found on hybrids because Nissan wants to make it as affordable as possible.
Speaking of hybrids, Nissan isn’t abandoning that technology. The company is developing a gas-electric drivetrain that can power a small car. Executive Vice President Mitsuhiko Yamashita told Reuters that Nissan considers hybrid a stop-gap until EV technology catches on.
“The best option of course would be for zero-emission electric vehicles to cover all needs, but that’s going to take a while,” Yamashita said.
- We Drive Nissan’s EV, And It’s Sweet
- Nissan’s EVs To Be Made in America
- Price Is EV’s Elephant In The Room
- Renault’s EV Features A Swappable Battery
Originally posted 2009-08-20 12:46:54.