Nissan wants to expand its electric lineup with a crossover and a sports car

2011 Nissan Esflow concept
Putting an end to a long-standing rumor, Nissan has announced it’s looking at ways to expand its lineup of electric vehicles in the coming years.

The centerpiece of the expansion is a brand new modular platform that’s being developed to underpin both cars powered by an internal combustion engine and all-electric models. Adopting a modular platform will allow Nissan to slash its research and development budget, and greatly lower the cost of the components that make up an electric drivetrain.

Nissan expects the first car built on its new modular architecture will launch in about five years. The second-generation Leaf won’t benefit from the platform because it will be introduced before the end of next year, but the architecture will likely be inaugurated by a battery-powered crossover.

“We’re the leading EV manufacturer, but I don’t think we can make it just off one EV, so we want to grow the portfolio — that’s our next plan,” explained Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s vice president, in an interview with British magazine Auto Express.

The executive also revealed that Nissan hasn’t ruled out building an all-electric sports car, though it’s understandably less of a priority than a crossover. The sports car faces several challenges before it’s given the proverbial green light for production. Notably, mounting the battery pack below the passenger compartment would raise the floor to a level deemed unacceptable for a sports car. Engineers are consequently toying around with several packaging solutions, including installing the pack under the rear seats, or in the transmission tunnel.

The idea of an electric sports car isn’t new at Nissan. The Japanese car maker traveled to the 2011 edition of the Geneva Auto Show to introduce a sleek-looking concept called Esflow that used an evolution of the original Leaf’s powertrain. The Esflow (pictured) offered a maximum driving range of 150 miles, and it could hit 60 mph from a stop in less than five seconds thanks to the instant torque produced by its electric motor. It was well received by the show-going public, but it remained a simple design study.

Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Cars

Is this electric car startup the next Tesla, or will it go the way of Coda?

The electric car startup formerly known as EVelozcity has changed its name to Canoo. It also announced a lineup of four cars including a commuter-friendly model and a lifestyle-oriented car. Its first electric vehicles will begin to appear…
Cars

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Cars

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.
Cars

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Cars

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Cars

Tesla Model 3 vulnerability exposed at Pwn2Own; hackers take home the car

A Tesla Model 3 vulnerability was exposed at the Pwn2Own hacking competition. The hackers, who were able to display a message on the electric vehicle's internet browser, won $35,000 and took home the car.
Cars

Ford’s born-again Bronco off-roader will soothe your 1990s nostalgia

Ford confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in 2020. We haven't seen the truck yet, but dealers who got a preview of it during a private event say it's a true off-roader aimed directly at the Jeep Wrangler.
Cars

Recall bounty hunters needed as millions ignore deadly Takata airbag recall

It's the recall campaign from hell and too many people aren't responding. Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) and Carma Project want to give financial rewards to people who alert family and friends to the deadly Takata airbag recall.