Nissan Denki Cube Concept

Despite also working on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, Nissan will go for electric first. Nissan is planning to sell electric vehicles (EVs) around the world by the year 2012 (with production version fleet tests beginning 2010), and the Nissan Denki Cube Concept displayed at the 2008 British International Motor Show is an example of such an EV.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said that to remain cost effective (Nissan wants an immediate profit upon EV introduction), electric cars will have to be modular and be configured differently according to each country’s needs. He gave an example: an EV in the US would need a range of at least 160km to be practical but an European market EV would do fine with an 80km range. Different communities also have different tolerances for how long they have to wait to recharge their car.

He stressed on the fact that Nissan’s new cars would be pure electric vehicles. “I don’t want a range extender. I don’t want another hybrid. It’s not going to be zero emissions in certain conditions. It’s going to be zero emissions.” The Nissan electric drivetrain will also be shared with Renault. Renault and Nissan aim to jointly sell 1 million electric cars a year, though they did not mention by when they hope this goal can be met.

In the US, Nissan would begin its EV trials in the state of Tennessee in the year 2011. Nissan is now working with the Tennessee Valley Authority electricity company to study and develop the infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles. This infrastructure included the possibility of charging stations being set up around the state so you could charge your car (and pay for charging it) anywhere other than home. Similiar deals have also been signed with Portugal, Israel and Denmark. Talks are being held with other parties in North America, Europe and Asia.

Nissan’s BIMS 2008 concept car (shown above and after the jump) takes a standard Nissan Cube and replaces its 1.3 litre internal combustion engine with an electric motor hooked up to lithium ion batteries located under the floor and seats. The batteries are from Automotive Energy Supply Corp, a JV company between Nissan and NEC.

Edaran Tan Chong Motor executive director Dr Ang Bon Beng said that ETCM is in talks with Nissan to offer a range of Nissan electric cars here in 2015, three years after the EV range’s planned 2012 global launch. Hopefully our automotive market will be more “liberalised” by then so these can be enjoyed by the public at affordable prices. JPJ also needs to figure out road tax for electric motors.

PHOTO GALLERY: Nissan Denki Cube Concept
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