Having long stalled on electric vehicles with just the Leaf to its name, Nissan is going all-in – it has already put the Ariya SUV into production and promises to launch 15 new models by 2030. And by all-in, we really do mean all-in, because even the company’s in-house tuning division, Nismo, will make the leap into the electrified future.

So says Top Gear, which reported that Nissan will build performance electric vehicles badged as Nismos. The publication spoke to Africa, Middle East, Europe and Oceania (AMIEO) chairman Guillaume Cartier last weekend, who confirmed that the carmaker is deciding which models are fit to receive the treatment. “Nismo is an asset that we have, and that’s something we want to revitalise,” he said. “And will we have some, let’s say, cars with the derivative Nismo? The answer is yes.”

Apparently, Nissan has yet to decide on a direction in which to take the Nismo brand as it has global demands to consider, but the cars will definitely be quicker than their more pedestrian brethren. “The point is, it’s not a gimmick,” Cartier added. “To use an English expression, it’s not lipstick on a pig. So that requires some investment to make sure that you bring performance.”

The use of the said expression seems a bit ironic considering some of Nismo’s recent efforts have been little more than styling exercises with literal red pinstriping. But when Top Gear asked what “performance” for Nismo EVs meant, Cartier insisted there would be far-reaching hardware upgrades. “Here it’s relatively easy to understand – specific suspension and powertrain. The point on Ariya, it’s a challenge because already we have a big battery with high performance. So we need to go higher than that.”


The new breed of Nismo EVs will hopefully have deeper performance upgrades than this Leaf Nismo

The Leaf Nismo RC from 2018 gives us some idea of what we can expect. The motorsport version of Nissan’s original EV received two 120 kW (161 hp) electric motors to provide all-wheel drive and a total system output of 240 kW (322 hp) and 640 Nm of torque.

That’s over 100 hp more than even the most potent regular Leaf and not too far off what the eventual Ariya AWD made, with more torque to boot. No, a production electric Nismo won’t be a slammed prototype with fat wheel arches and a massive rear wing, but it shows there are performance gains to exploit from an EV.

As it should, because Nissan has ended investments into internal combustion engines, said CEO Ashwani Gupta during that same weekend. Instead, the company is funnelling that money into solid-state batteries that it hopes will provide a quantum leap in range when they enter production in 2028. It has also purchased the e.dams outfit that runs its Formula E operation, underlining its commitment to the series; Nismo CEO Takao Katagiri sits on the new board of management.