Published on June 17th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


Nissan May Join Tesla & BMW To Push EV Revolution Using Tesla Patents

June 17th, 2014 by  

Editor’s Note: When Tesla Motors announced it would allow anyone to use its patents “in good faith,” one of the top questions was, “Will anyone bite?” Companies that have simply gone the “compliance car” route seem unlikely to jump at the opportunity (though, maybe this is the stimulation that would get some of them to move). Nissan and BMW have been the most enthusiastic to join the EV revolution, and the Nissan Leaf is far and away the top EV seller, but would they want to use Tesla’s tech? Putting pride aside, I think the answer is very likely “yes,” and early indication about meetings between Tesla and these two automakers. We’ll see where that leads. In the meantime, here’s more discussion from Chris:

Nissan Wants A Threeway With Tesla and BMW


Just before Elon Musk gave away all of Tesla’s patents, the Silicon Valley automaker was in talks with BMW about sharing its Supercharger technology. Now Nissan wants in on the technology-sharing talks between Tesla and BMW, and could be on the short list to fast track Tesla technology to its own EVs.

A Nissan-Tesla-BMW alliance would cover the Japanese, American, and German markets, with the three most serious EV contenders joining forces to promote a new method of mobility. The BMW i3 and i8 are the first serious Nissan Leaf contenders since the little electric car launched in late 2010, and Tesla’s choice to offer different battery sizes appears to have affected Nissan’s future plans for the Leaf EV.

Yet it’s important to keep in mind that Nissan is also heavily involved in promoting the CHaDeMO fast chargers across Europe and Japan, where it recently joined an EV charging alliance with Toyota, Honda, and Mitsubishi. Nissan has long had its own plans, and I doubt they ever imagined Tesla would just open up its patents to the world. Nissan looks like it is stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment.

Could we end up with two, or perhaps even three different charging standards based on region? Or will Tesla’s technologically superior (and free) Superchargers be adapted for use in BMW, Nissan, and other vehicles? That is starting to look more and more certain.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    Actually Nissan is not the EV leader anymore if sales are measured in revenue or energy capacity of EV batteries. And as Tesla S is approaching 50 000 unit production rate by the end of this year, Tesla will surpass Nissan Leaf also per units sold.

    Even if we include both EVs and hybrids into equation, even then Tesla is already the largest EV/hybrid manufacturer in the world if measured in the capacity of batteries. Tesla just went ahead of Toyota. Naturally, Tesla has also propelled Panasonic to be the largest EV battery manufacturer in the world.

  • Wayne Williamson

    I would have thought the biggest things would be the main drive motor and controller. Oh and how to pack and cool the battery. The over the air updates might be pretty cool too. I think many people are missing that they built this from scratch and solved many problems that other companies have not even thought about.

  • Benjamin Nead

    More good news, if Nissan gets on board. The fight between CHAdeMO (Japanese) and SAE-CCS (Euro/American) is an easy one to solve: simply build charging terminals to accommodate 440V DC and then provide the two different circuit path with indigenous plugs for each on that same terminal. This is actually easier than what we deal with today, with different liquid fuel tanks (unleaded gasoline, diesel, etc.) buried underground and different sized nozzles on the pump.

    I guess the big question is if each Supercharger station will come with a CHAdeMO/SAE-CCS terminal (or two.) I certainly hope so. Even though Nissan and BMW don’t currently offer long range EVs yet, it’s only a matter of time before they do.

    • TedKidd

      ” the big question is if each Supercharger station will come with a CHAdeMO/SAE-CCS terminal (or two.) ”

      Since it’s going to be open source I suspect a converter/adapter, with all cars eventually shifting to the Tesla standard. The Tesla charge connection works really nicely.

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