Nissan puts zero emissions at centre of its global strategy

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People around the world are increasingly focusing on the threat of global warming and the needs for lower vehicle emissions and independence from oil, and automakers are responding to the need with a variety of technological solutions.  Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (NML) continues to invest in a portfolio of “green” technologies, including clean diesels, hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.  But the centerpiece of Nissan’s product strategy for the coming years will be zero-emission vehicles, beginning with an all-electric car. Nissan has made a strategic commitment to lead the global automobile industry in mass-marketing zero-emission vehicles. 

“We are preparing a car that will be neutral to the environment – transportation without guilt over the environment,” says Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn.  “We are emphasizing zero emissions.  It’s a territory we want to own, and we are taking all the initiatives necessary to make it happen.”

Nissan believes the end game to address environmental concerns is zero emissions and the best way to curb emissions is not to produce them at all.

Nissan’s EV strategy was announced with the company’s business plan in May 2008: “Nissan, along with Renault, [will] become a global leader in zero-emission vehicles.” Nissan will develop a range of high-quality electric vehicles that are safe, well engineered, attractive, affordable and fun to drive.  The all-electric vehicle will be introduced in the United States and Japan in 2010, and Nissan will begin to mass-market electric vehicles globally in 2012.  With zero carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions and zero particles pollution, the electric vehicle will be the most environmentally friendly mass-produced car on the market.

Nissan is on the front line of working with cities and countries around the world to prepare the conditions that will allow electric vehicles to succeed.

“We see the interdependence of the automakers, the Governments and third parties in building a greener transportation system,” said Mr. Ghosn.

Nissan with Alliance partner Renault has been forging partnerships with Governments and specialist companies to build a sustainable mobility network and nurture public awareness as preparations evolve for marketing EVs on a mass scale in 2012. Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with electricity companies, charging station suppliers, Governments, States and Countries to promote the concept of zero emission mobility. To date the Alliance Renault-Nissan has formed 27 partnerships to advance the deployment of EVs worldwide.

Local, State and National Governments can provide infrastructure support, promote awareness and public education, use EV fleet vehicles, craft legislation or offer other incentives, such as tax relief or parking/toll rebates for EV buyers.

The electric vehicle Nissan will introduce in 2010 will have a unique body style on an all-new vehicle platform.  It will be compact for the city, yet big enough to carry five adults. Importantly, it will be thoroughly usable with brisk performance and a range of 160kms. It will have the performance of a typical 1.6-litre petrol-engined car while recharging from a high voltage source will restore 80 per cent of the battery capacity in around 30 minutes. And it will be just the first in a range of purpose-designed EVs from Nissan. Initial sales will start in 2010 in Japan and North America, but by 2012 it will be available globally.

The heart of the electric car is its battery.  Nissan’s vehicle will be powered by advanced compact lithium-ion batteries sourced from a Nissan-NEC joint venture company, AESC (Automotive Energy Supply Corporation), which was formed in April 2007.