We heard a while back that Nissan was considering jumping into the plug-in hybrid market, despite till now focusing its plug-in hybrid options on only pure electrics. Now, Nissan CEO & Chairman Carlos Ghosn (who is also CEO & Chairman of Renault) says this is indeed on the way for sometime this year.
From Steve Hanley at Gas2:
Will the Nissan LEAF become a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt? At Nissan’s annual stockholders meeting on June 22, CEO Carlos Ghosn told listeners that the company will introduce two new technologies this year. First, it will unveil an autonomous driving system that will guide the car in a straight line and around curves without input from the driver. The system, which will be known as ProPilot, will operate only within one travel lane, which means it will not have the automatic lane change feature available in Tesla’s Autopilot system.
Second on the list is a plug-in hybrid powertrain it calls e-Power. It uses a small engine to generate electricity to charge an onboard battery. The battery, in turn, powers an electric motor that turns the wheels. The e-Power system debuted in the Gripz compact crossover concept revealed at the Frankfurt auto show last fall. Regular readers will recognize the e-Power system as equivalent to the powertrain used in the Chevy Volt. With LEAF sales in the toilet, Nissan seems to be raising the white flag and admitting that Chevrolet had the better idea. Both cars came on the market at about the same time in 2010 and 2011.
Given that, despite its clear EV leadership, Nissan only has the LEAF as a passenger car option with a plug, I don’t think Nissan will be turning the LEAF into a plug-in hybrid. Rather, I think this and potentially another EV rollout will come as Nissan expands its plug-in portfolio.
“This new electric vehicle will meet consumer demand for greater autonomy and fuel efficiency. It will utilize a new e-Power system that matches the agility, quietness, strong acceleration and efficiency of the Nissan LEAF,” Carlos notes.
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