The Nissan-Renault Alliance, which now includes Mitsubishi Motors, just laid out its new Alliance 2022 vision for the future of the Alliance in Paris. That vision sees all 3 companies moving boldly forward with autonomous, electric vehicles front and center.
The Alliance used the meeting to renew its commitment to electrified vehicles with a 6 year plan dubbed Alliance 2022, noting that scale was the only way to bring down costs of the relatively new technologies such that they will be affordable in Nissan’s new vehicles. Nissan is already mapping out the path to the new future, leading from the front with its newly redesigned 2018 Nissan LEAF that takes the learnings from the cute but polarizing first-generation LEAF into the sleek, modern, second generation of the vehicle that brings with it almost double the range of the first generation with an estimated 150 miles (240 kilometers) of EPA rated range.
Building vehicles that appeal to the masses like the second-generation LEAF will enable sales in volumes that drive costs down, allowing Nissan to stretch the tech further and turn a profit on the new lineup.
Carlos Ghosn led the first Nissan charge into electrification, which resulted in the LEAF being developed in the first place. After not achieving the sales demand and scale Ghosn was expecting from this first LEAF, he is now renewing the Nissan commitment to electrification. The LEAF also hints at plans that are perhaps even more bold than electric vehicles — a push into the next iteration of the unknown, autonomous driving.
The new LEAF is not a fully autonomous vehicle, nor has Nissan claimed that it has the potential to be fully autonomous, but it has raised the bar with the technologies included. It is the first Nissan vehicle to feature the ProPilot suite. The LEAF will have Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection, and the like. It builds on these ubiquitous features with its first foray into more advanced highway semi-autonomous features that promise to keep the vehicle in the center of the lane, much like Tesla’s Autopilot technology.
Back to electrification, Ghosn claims that governments and regulations will be the key instigators. “This will be driven not so much by consumer demand but by emission regulations,” noted Ghosn. “Between now and 2040 there will be no more diesel and gasoline. This is absolutely a scenario.” The sentiment is not a new one for Ghosn but reflects increasing pressure across Europe and, more recently, in China. Cities and countries around the world have been making verbal commitments to ban the sales of internal combustion vehicles as a means of combating local pollution and global warming.
The second wave of electric vehicles from Nissan will utilize a common platform, much like Tesla’s skateboard battery design, Faraday Future’s Variable Platform Architecture, Volkswagen’s MEB platform, and a handful of others that followed suit. Nissan will develop four common platforms that will provide the basis for over 9 million vehicles. Standardizing vehicle platforms has never been done at this level before within the Renault-Nissan Alliance, with the new move increasing the use of common platforms from 1/3 of vehicles to 3/4 of vehicles. This step change increase in standardization will drive down supply chain inventories, improve service responsiveness (as local facilities will have less inventory to carry and manage), drive non-value-add cost out of vehicle production, and free up cash to offset the R&D that went into the initial development of EVs and their batteries.
More specifically, the Alliance 2022 plan will see Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi launch 12 dedicated EV models, and will see 40 models utilizing its ProPilot autonomous vehicle technology suite. Moving ProPilot into production is the first real step for Nissan towards the inevitable fully autonomous future that the Alliance believes will pave the way for robotaxis that will become the norm for personal transportation. The Alliance sees this as an opportunity for expansion into developing markets and plans to operate its own robotaxi fleet.
The bold new Alliance 2022 vision promises to transform the Renault-Nissan Alliance from a partnership wherein 2 of the 3 member companies is profitable (Nissan and Renault) to a partnership where all 3 member companies are on the same page and truly leveraging the global synergies between them. This all but guarantees an upheaval in the Mitsubishi Motors ranks as the Alliance revamps it for electrified, autonomous-enabled profitability.
As if a bow was required for the event, the Alliance unveiled a new logo for the partnership that puts all three companies on equal footing (see above).
On the electrification front, here are more details from the Alliance:
- Common, scalable EV platforms for multiple segments by 2020, with a forecast that 70% of EV volumes will be based on shared platforms by 2022
- A new family of EV motor and batteries to be introduced from 2020, shared across the member companies
- 12 new pure electric vehicles to be launched by 2022
- More than 600km EV range reached by 2022, based on NEDC homologation methodology
- 30% decrease in battery cost from 2016 to 2022
- 15 minutes charging time to deliver range of 230 km by 2022, up from 90 km in 2016, based on NEDC homologation methodology
- Optimized, flat packaging of the battery, providing additional cabin space and greater styling flexibility
- Adoption of Mitsubishi Motors’ new PHEV technology as the common C/D segment PHEV solution by 2022
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