Nissan develops Nismo Performance electric vehicles
Nissan has coyly suggested it might one day deliver electrified performance models since releasing examples of the humble Nismo-badged 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 an effort to make the model really fast on a race track.
As the automaker prepares to deliver 15 new electric vehicles by 2030, there has been speculation about the number of sporting aspirations. But it seems few know that Nissan has confirmed the development of its Nismo-branded electric performance for the global market.
In terms of battery-electric propulsion, the Japanese brand is currently bringing the aforementioned (delayed) Leaf and Ayria to the North American market. Meanwhile, its Nismo products are limited to geek-up versions of the already speedy 370Z and GT-R. These models illustrate the chasm that separates Nissan’s performance and electric products in terms of design theory. To say the company has a long way to go before it can close that gap would be an understatement.
But the automaker doesn’t seem interested in building electrified versions of its existing sports models. According to a recent interview Top of the line conducted with Nissan’s President for Europe Guillaume Cartier at the Formula E race in Monaco, the plan is to give the Nismo treatment to its next electric vehicles in order to designate them as more efficient.
“Nismo is an asset we have,” Cartier explained, “and it’s something we want to revitalize. [sic]. And will we have, say, cars with the Nismo derivative? The answer is yes.”
Since Top of the line:
Logical, really. Most manufacturers plan to tap into the “fast electric” segment in one way or another: VW has its GTX line, Seat has Cupra (yeah, yeah, “fully separate companies”, we know) Ford a Mach-E…why would he? Does Nissan use its racing arm to add some pedigree?
“The thing is, it’s not a gimmick,” insists Cartier. “To use an English expression, it’s not lipstick on a pig. So it requires some investment to make sure 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 is a challenge because we already have a big battery with high performance. So we have to go higher than that.
It looks like Nissan could just retune EVs for improved output and slap and slap some Nismo emblems before calling it a day. But the automaker has signaled that it’s pretty serious about rolling with all-electric vehicles after recently ending all future investment in combustion engine development to pursue battery technology. Last month, the automaker also took official control of the e.dams racing team responsible for its Formula E program so it could “drive our destiny”, according to Cartier.
“We are learning as we race, and the relentless pace of technological progression that drives the Formula E championship will provide us with plenty of opportunities to inform and develop even better cars for customers,” he said. the then Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer of Nissan. “The acquisition of the e.dams team reconfirms not only our long-term commitment to Formula E, but also to the exciting and high-performance world of motorsport as a whole.”
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