Mitsubishi technology could power Nissan's first plug-in hybrid model

2017 Nissan Versa Note
Unlike many of its rivals, Nissan chose to skip gasoline-electric hybrid cars and go straight to electric vehicles such as the Leaf. The company is now circling back, and one of its top executives has confirmed it’s preparing to introduce its first plug-in hybrid model.

The company still believes that hybrids are a bridge towards electric cars, and most of its upcoming plug-in models will be aimed at markets like Europe where battery-electric technology has been slow to catch on for an array of reasons. Details about Nissan’s first plug-in hybrid model are few and far between, but Takashi Shirawa, the head of Nissan’s European research and development department, told British magazine Auto Express that it will likely use technology borrowed from Mitsubishi.

“We welcomed Mitsubishi Motors into the Nissan family, and they already have the Outlander PHEV. The next-generation product range may be shared with that, but this is just the beginning of the discussion as nothing has been decided yet,” revealed Shirawa.

Currently, the Outlander PHEV uses a 121-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that works with a pair of electric motors and a 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Europe’s fantastically optimistic testing cycle claims the SUV is capable of driving on electricity alone for about 33 miles, though the real-world figure is likely closer to 20. A full charge takes approximately five hours.

When we’ll see the model debut hasn’t been announced yet. However, Shirawa’s comment about using Outlander-sourced technology suggests Nissan’s first plug-in hybrid will be a larger model aimed at families. He didn’t reveal whether a smaller plug-in is in the works, but he pointed out that the next evolution of the brand’s battery-electric technology could easily be scaled down to fit into a model positioned below the Leaf.

“Most customers are keen to have a smaller EV. We recognize this, and we’re already thinking about how to solve these customer issues with next-generation EV technology,” he said.

Electrifying smaller models makes a lot of sense. City cars are rarely driven on long trips so range isn’t as much of an issue, and they usually remain in the city where charging stations are more common than out in the countryside.


Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.

Cadillac is finally ready to take on Tesla with its own electric car

At the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Cadillac announced plans for its first electric car. The unnamed model will be a crossover, based on a new platform to be shared with other General Motors brands.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.

This Chevy Silverado pickup truck is made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks

To promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Lego and Chevrolet teamed up on a life-size replica of the automaker's Silverado pickup truck made from more than 300,000 plastic bricks.