Category: ‘Electric Cars’

Mitsubishi Unveils XR-PHEV Evolution Vision Concept on PS3

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Earlier this year, Mitsubishi made official plans to axe their Lancer Evo sports car, but it seems that they’re already making plans to reinvigorate the Evo lineup. In doing so, they’ve unleashed a concept that – for the first time in recent memory – is actually exciting to look at.

The only problem?

It only exists in the virtual world. It’s the Mitsubishi XR-PHEV Evolution Vision Concept as seen in the Gran Turismo 6 video game for the PlayStation 3:

2014 Mitsubishi XR-PHEV Evolution Vision Concept

Even if this is a car that only exists in the digital realm, you have to admit that it’s one you’d like to take for a spin. And you can if you’re a PS3 gamer; the XR-PHEV is part of the Gran Turismo 6 Vision Initiative, which has automakers from around the world submit concepts to feature in-game. Last December we’d heard that Toyota would feature a Supra concept in GT6, but this is the first we’ve heard – or seen – of Mitsubishi’s contribution.

So, what exactly are we looking at?

The XR-PHEV concept features what Mitsubishi has dubbed the “Athlete Form” design language, which speaks to the rally racer’s lean and muscular exterior, like that of a sprinter ready to pounce at the starting gun shot.

To give you a little bit of context, Mitsubishi originally showed an XR-PHEV Concept last November (below) which was intended to showcase a possible direction for the next-gen Outlander, ETA unknown. Thus, the sports car seen in Gran Turismo 6 is actually a refined version of the XR-PHEV CUV. You can clearly see the similarities between the two vehicles.

2013 Mitsubishi XR-PHEV Concept

Just like the original crossover concept, the XR-PHEV Evolution Vision features, you guessed it, a Plug-in Hybrid EV engine… At least, it would if it were a real car. The PHEV powertrain would likely be turbocharged and connected to an eight-speed dual clutch transmission, topped off with 20-inch aluminum wheels.

2014 Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III

Obviously, Mitsubishi will probably never produce a production-ready version of the XR-PHEV Evolution Vision Concept. However, they are bringing a car that bears a slight resemblance to the upcoming Pikes Peak Hill Climb (above), although it will be the third year in a row that they’ve used the same car. Still, if nothing else this shows that Mitsubishi is maintaining a tenuous hold on their motorsports potential, so perhaps a toned-down version of the XR-PHEV Evo Vision isn’t totally out of the question.

Either way, if you’d like to see Mitsubishi’s newest racing concept in virtual action, we’ll leave you with the demo video below:

Nissan Hints at Intentions for the Next-Gen Nissan Leaf EV

Posted by Stephen On Monday, May 12th, 2014

Nissan has big changes in store for their next-generation Leaf even though the new model isn’t due for debut until sometime after 2017. There’s no doubt that the Leaf is an important vehicle for Nissan, so they’re going to take the next few years to improve its foundation – the battery.

2014 Nissan Leaf

The information comes via recent interview between Nissan company executives and Automotive News, as well as an interview with Andy Palmer following last month’s Beijing Motor Show.

Better Range from a Better Battery

The 2014 Nissan Leaf has an EPA-estimated driving range of 84 miles, which is a 9-mile improvement over the previous model year’s 75 mile range. However, even though Nissan credits the improvement to some slight mechanical tweaks, the truth is that the EPA updated their driving range calculation for 2014, so nothing’s really changed. Nonetheless, the fact that Nissan wants you to think something’s changed reveals a truth about electric vehicles – better range equals more sales. Nissan’s executives confirmed exactly that in their interview with Automotive News.

So, how do you get better range from an electric vehicle?

With a better battery!

According to the aforementioned interview with Andy Palmer, “Battery chemistry is all about range and energy density. That’s where you see the technology moving very, very fast. This really is the game-changing technology.”

The next obvious question is, exactly how far will the next Nissan Leaf be able to go?

While Palmer didn’t give us a specific answer, he did estimate that an electric vehicle would need to travel a minimum of 186 miles (300km) per charge to compete with the HFCVs that’ll be on the market within the next few years. That would be a 120% improvement over the current Leaf’s range.

In the meantime, Nissan intends to update current and future Leafs over the next couple years with more durable batteries for increased lifespan.

Next-Gen Nissan Leaf Design

Automotive News also elicited a few hints about the next-gen Leaf’s aesthetics, and they’re actually quite interesting. According to Mamoru Aoki, Nissan’s chief of global design, the Japanese automaker has a new policy for electric vehicle design. “The current Leaf is aiming too much at an EV-like appearance. Tesla doesn’t look EV at all. The Tesla S just looks nice, very sporty, sleek, but very authentic.”

To translate this point of view into possible design projections, you can expect the next Nissan Leaf to retain its hatchback structure, but look a lot less like an EV. That means it’ll probably inherit Nissan’s V-Motion design theme with a classy, premium-feeling aesthetic instead of a bubbly, hipster one.

Speaking of premium, Nissan executives also offered a possible launch date for the delayed Infiniti EV sedan. Palmer had already cited insufficient battery technology as the reason for the wait, so with this news about the next-gen Leaf’s improved range, it’s natural to assume the Infiniti EV will come around the same time. That means it’ll probably arrive in late 2016 or early 2017. However, Palmer did explicitly state that it would come BEFORE the next-gen Leaf, citing that the Infiniti EV’s larger body allows more room for a bigger battery.

As you can see, Nissan definitely isn’t going to rest on their laurels with the successful Leaf EV. Even as sales continue to grow year after year, the Japanese car maker is seeking ways to improve their already top-notch vehicle.

Toyota News: i-Road Public Testing, Mazda2-Based Yaris

Posted by Stephen On Friday, March 14th, 2014

While we’re waiting for the 2014 Beijing Motor Show to kick off in April, talk of new Japanese cars has slowed to a standstill. However, we have a couple interesting stories relating to Toyota this week that we’re sure our well-rounded readers would love to know more about.

Toyota i-Road Makes Public Debut in Japan

Toyota i-Road EV

The Toyota i-Road has been in private testing for the past year among a select few Japanese drivers. The innovative little trike had a lot of hoops to jump through with various Japanese government organizations to ensure that the vehicle was safe and road-ready. However, now Toyota is ready to take the next step with their three-wheeled EV city car.

From here on out, the lucky residents of Toyota City in Japan will be able to officially participate in Toyota’s new “optimized urban transport system,” known as Ha:mo. The i-Road fits into that system as one of the key vehicles that Japanese drivers will be able to ‘borrow’ via special Toyota EV-sharing stations.

But, Ha:mo is more than just vehicle sharing stations… It aims to be a convenient and accessible urban transportation system that allows you to plan flexible routes around the city and make optimal use of all available public transportation. Using your smart phone, you can plan a route from wherever you are to wherever you need to be, making equal use of EV sharing stations, trains, buses, and whatever else is available.

Take a look at one of Ha:mo’s vehicle sharing stations, and the Toyota i-Road in action, below:

For our non-Japanese readers, don’t despair – the Toyota i-Road will make its way into Grenoble, France later this year, and we’re sure Toyota is looking at other cities throughout Europe (and perhaps the rest of the world) for the future.

Mazda2-Based Yaris to Use SkyActiv Tech.

Mazda Hazumi Concept

All the way on the other side of the world, Toyota and Mazda have just confirmed an agreement that will involve the next-gen Toyota Yaris. Apparently, Toyota intends for the next North American version of the Yaris to be based off the Mazda2 subcompact. Not only that, the vehicle will also be built in Mazda’s brand-new Mexico plant, and will use a vehicle-tuned SkyActiv direct-injection engine.

The agreement won’t actually come into fruition until sometime during 2015, but it’s a win-win for both automakers. Toyota gets to save on exporting, and gets to use a proven, high-quality vehicle and powertrain. Mazda gets to make full use of their Mexico operations, and the brand-awareness that naturally comes when you work with Toyota.

Whether or not the new Mazda2-based Toyota will be based off the current Mazda2 or the one previewed by the Hazumi Concept remains to be seen, but logically we’d expect it to be the latter.

This is great news for Mazda fans and Toyota fans alike, and we’re thrilled to see Mazda’s SkyActiv technology finally get the recognition it deserves.

Nissan BladeGlider Concept Headed for the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

After taking a break from Tokyo Motor Show previews yesterday, today we’re right back on track and picking up where we left off. While Nissan will be showcasing several new NISMO models in LA at the end of November, today they’ve unveiled their primary show car for this year’s Japanese motor show, and it is a doozy to be sure. It’s called the Nissan BladeGlider Concept, and oddly enough, the name actually fits the car.

Take a look for yourself below:

Nissan Blade Glider concept car

As you may be able to guess, what we have here is the next iteration of the Nissan ZEOD-RC Concept, and the Nissan DeltaWing before it. For reference, you can see both previous concepts below:

Nissan ZEOD RC

Nissan Delta Wing

So, what’s the difference between the Nissan BladeGlider Concept and the previous ZEOD-RC and DeltaWing concepts?

Other than the more polished design, the biggest difference is that Nissan actually wants to bring the BladeGlider to production. As in, they want it to be available for everyday customers and not just Nissan’s Le Mans racing team. It is, “an exploratory prototype of an upcoming production vehicle,” and, “a proposal for the future direction of Nissan electric vehicle development.”

This might all sound like a load of hokey, but let’s put this car into context.

Recently, Nissan VP Andy Palmer went on record claiming that the incredibly successful Toyota GT86 and its Scion and Subaru siblings were “designed for a 50-year-old… for a midlife crisis.” Ouch! He went on to make it clear, “That’s not what we do.” Instead, the BladeGlider is an against-the-grain Japanese car intended to attract male automotive enthusiasts in the latter half of their twenties.

In the same interview, Mr. Palmer was kind enough to share some specific details about the then-code-named Nissan Z35. He informed us that the powertrain will be based on the current Nissan 370Z’s, including the very same 3.7L V-6 engine. However, the engine will be down-tuned to conserve fuel. Meanwhile, a turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder with direct-injection will also be available for those seeking more power.  And, if the BladeGlider does make it to production, it seems likely that NISMO will take a whack at it to top out the trim range.

From what we can tell so far, the BladeGlider is one of those “deep” concepts with a lot of little subtleties and nuances to appreciate. For example, the delta design allows for a 30/70 weight distribution between the front and back of the vehicle, which is optimal for fast turns with that narrower front track. Also, you wouldn’t guess from the picture, but the underbody is made from lightweight carbon-fiber for maximum stability and speed. Another example would be the independently-powered in-wheel electric motors, which will be a first for Nissan if the car makes it to production. From the design to the technology, performance is wired into the BladeGlider’s DNA.

But, performance isn’t all that the BladeGlider is about…

Design-wise, the Nissan BladeGlider Concept is meant to evoke the gentle exhilaration that comes from soaring through the sky in a glider. It’s meant to look like it’s moving, even when it’s standing still. From the aircraft-like steering wheel to the cockpit’s styling cues, and even to the way the digital display shows atmospheric conditions, the BladeGlider feels like just as much airplane as electric car.

All in all, it’s safe to say that Nissan has definitely achieved their goal with the BladeGlider Concept, at least initially. They wanted something invigorating and fresh… Something that would ‘reinvent the wheel’, so to speak. Whatever you think about the car, it’s safe to say that no other automaker will have anything close to the BladeGlider Concept at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. That much, at least, is for sure.

Finally, if you’d like to see more of the Nissan BladeGlider Concept in action, just watch the video below:

Toyota i-Road Officially Confirmed for Production in Japan

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Toyota iRoad

Unsurprisingly, it appears that the new age of personalized transportation will be making its debut in Japan before the rest of the world.  Earlier this week, we learned that Nissan is looking to begin testing their Autonomous Driving system in Japan, in addition to the Nissan Mobility Concept already in use.

Now, coming from the very same CEATEC show as the AD Nissan Leaf, we have another official contender in the race for perfect personal mobility in the Toyota i-Road EV. We’ve just learned that Toyota’s quirky little concept from the 2013 Geneva Motor Show is officially headed for production. And soon, too… Toyota wants to have a fleet of 100 i-Road EVs available by the beginning of 2014.

However, it should be noted that these i-Road EVs won’t be available for normal resale.  Instead, Toyota will use these 100 “personal mobility” vehicles for their nubile Japanese car-sharing system called Ha:mo, which is exclusively available in Toyota City.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ha:mo, it’s an “urban transport system designed to provide transport that is commendable to users, cities in society as a whole by optimally combining personal mobility vehicles… with public transportation.” With a driving radius of 30 miles and a top speed of 28mph, the new batch of Toyota i-Road EVs would obviously fulfill the personal mobility side of the system. But, their true selling point is the unique Active Lean System. This system, which uses two independent motors on the front wheels to adjust the lean of the body, makes it all too easy for the i-Road to navigate tight city streets safely and quickly.

Confirmation of the Toyota i-Road’s production is just one of several upcoming changes to Toyota’s car-sharing system.

In addition to the 100 extra i-Roads being integrated into Ha:mo, Toyota will also be adding 90 “COMS” car-sharing EVs throughout October. They’ll also add 52 Yamaha power-assisted bikes to their fleet, with an additional 40 likely by the end of the year. All of these new vehicles will allow Ha:mo to expand the number of check-in stations in Toyota City from four to 21 by the end of October.  Each of the new stations will be aimed at high-traffic areas, such as train stations and office parks, where drivers are likely to need the most transport. The additional stations will make it easier for drivers to utilize Ha:mo’s one-way feature, which allows you to pick up an EV at one vehicle station and drop it off at another.

In addition to the expansions for Ha:mo’s fleet and vehicle stations, Toyota will also be experimenting with new fee systems.  Basically, they want to make sure that their efforts are going to pay off when all is said and done.  Apparently, a significant part of the current usability experiments will be determining how altering fees between regular and one-time users affects total profits.

Unfortunately, we have no idea when or if the Toyota i-Road “personal mobility” vehicle will ever make it outside of Japan.  It seems unlikely that it would happen before 2015, but we may learn more at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. Until then, thanks for reading!

Fully Autonomous Nissan Leaf May Be Closer Than You Think

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Autonomous Nissan Leaf

According to any futuristic sci-fi movie from the 1970s, by 2013 we should have been driving flying cars. Unfortunately, while there have been some steps in that direction, no automaker is ready to shake things up quite that much just yet. Autonomous cars, on the other hand, now that’s a goal to shoot for. And if Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has anything to say about it, we may be driving hands-free sooner than you think.

It was just one year ago that Nissan impressed us with their first-ever self-parking car at Japan’s annual Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies show (CEATEC for short). Now, one year later, they’re demonstrating their first ever Autonomous Driving Nissan Leaf prototype. They’ve allowed everyone from journalists to competing CEO Akio Toyoda to go for a ride, and reactions have been glowing all around.

After her test drive, Li Hui, a head producer for Pheonix TV out of Hong Kong, confidently stated that the technology would be wholeheartedly adapted by Chinese drivers if it were available right now.  She felt that women in particular would benefit from autonomous driving, as it would free up the many hours spent commuting each week for other things. Imagine being able to eat breakfast, put on makeup, and otherwise prepare for the day on your way to work. And who wouldn’t want to get some extra sleep in on the way to work as well? Not only would you make better use of your time, you’d be saving money on fuel because it’s an EV, and you’d be safer because the car drives itself perfectly.

Obviously, a fully autonomous vehicle is one of those things you have to see to believe. So, check out the video below and see for yourself:

For our more technologically inclined to readers, the Nissan Leaf drives itself through the use of five lasers and five cameras mounted around the car’s exterior.  The cameras and lasers work together to direct the car safely around a track.  In the video above, you’ll see the Autonomous Driving Nissan Leaf stop at stop signs, drive around a stalled car, yield for other human-operated vehicles, and smoothly glide through u-turns.

In another video, CEO target=”_blank”>Carlos Ghosn gets behind the wheel for himself and discusses what this debut means for Nissan. He praises his team of engineers for the enormous advancements they’ve made in just one year, but at the same time he acknowledges that the success of this prototype only serves to put more pressure on Nissan. He claims that they will have a commercially available autonomous vehicle by 2020, “at the latest.” That sounds like a recipe for more long nights in the lab for the geeks. Good job the car will be able to drive them home at the end of all of that.

Nissan has already worked out an agreement with the Japanese government to target=”_blank”>begin testing semi-autonomous vehicles on real roads with real people. According to their tests, the AD Leaf shows better reaction times than any human driver.

Toru Futami, Nissan’s head of IT and ITS Development, says that their end-goal is to have a system that predicts and reacts to every conceivable circumstance, from a child running into the road to another car running a red light. Perfect safety and perfect convenience are the joint objectives, and if the autonomous Nissan Leaf at CEATEC is any indication, both goals will be met sooner rather than later.

Nissan News: Upgraded European Navara and New Mobility Concept Carsharing

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

It’s been a pretty quiet week around the automotive blogosphere.  Most of us are waiting for the next couple of major international motor shows In November – the ones in LA and Tokyo. Chances are, we’ll start to see a steady stream of previews around the beginning of October. Until then, automakers seem to be using this time to focus their media promotion on local markets.

All that to say, we’re going to finish off the week by discussing two new and interesting developments from Nissan, although they may not be directly relevant to every single one of our readers… Keep reading to learn more.

European Market Nissan Navara SV Gets Luxurified

Updated Nissan Navara

This is the new, more luxurious edition of the Nissan Navara LE pickup truck; it’s the SV (special version) edition and it’s exclusive for the European market. Basically, Nissan is looking to appeal to drivers who want a comfortable interior in their pick-up, and a rugged-but-premium exterior.

To accomplish these two goals, Nissan has upgraded the Navara LE SV with 18” chrome-alloy wheels, a brushed steel bar under the front fender, and chrome-wrapped fog lights. Inside, the Navara LE SV gets new Alcantara trim on the seats and accented throughout, while the rest of the upholstery gets upgraded to double-stitched leather.

According to Christian Meola, LCV European Product Manager, “The special version underlines and enhances the appeal of one of the most capable pickups on the market.  Luxurious, sporting and supremely versatile, it is the ultimate Navara.”

The Nissan Navara LE SV will be available with one of two diesel engine configurations; either a 2.5L four-cylinder with 187 hp or a 3.0L V6 with 228 hp.

New Nissan Mobility Concept EV Car Sharing Program

Nissan New Mobility Concept

We’ve been keeping tabs on the Twizy-based Nissan Mobility Concept since the beginning of this year, and it seems as if the Japanese automaker is finally ready to put its urban EV to the test in the real world.  Starting next month, Nissan and the Japanese city of Yokohama will launch the first-ever EV carsharing program using a fleet of 30 Mobility Concept EV’s.

The new car sharing program will be called Choimobi Yokohama, which literally means Mega-Easy Mobility Yokohama. Nissan’s short term goal is to enlarge the fleet up to 100 NMC’s, each of which will be rented out at a rate of ~$12/hr. Rentals will be facilitated through an online reservation system and will include the free use of various parking facilities throughout the city.

This is a big step for Nissan, and if it works out well then Choimobi Yokohama could be the first of many EV carsharing programs around the world. It’s not difficult to imagine similar programs taking off in many other European and Asian markets, although it may not be appealing to U.S. customers for several years yet…  At least, not outside of the ever-trendy Northwest coast.

Thanks for reading, and come back next week for more news about your favorite Japanese cars!

Honda Officially Testing Micro Commuter Prototype

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, July 25th, 2013

There’s a hot new segment of vehicles in town, and Japanese automakers everywhere are clamoring for their piece of the pie. According to Autocar, Honda is the latest competitor in the super-urban EV race with the now official testing of their Honda Micro Commuter prototype.

For those of you completely lost when I say “super-urban EV”, I will refer you to the car that deserves credit for starting the craze – the Renault Twizy. Admittedly, it would be a stretch to call the Twizy a car, but Renault’s moped-quadricycle-Leaf Frankenstein has been a huge success since it hit European streets in 2012. It’s been so successful, in fact, that Nissan has since adopted the Twizy for their own super-urban vehicle, the Nissan Mobility Concept or NMC. Meanwhile, Toyota recently showed us their own take with the i-Road Concept, and finally we’re back to where we started with the latest addition of Honda’s Micro Commuter prototype.

But, even though it appears that Honda’s ingenuity is limited to imitation, don’t let the timeline fool you… Honda has had the Micro Commuter in the works for several years now. The public’s first exposure was at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show when it was presented as a weirdly prismatic, Tron-like vehicle (see below). Then, we saw a more refined version of the Micro Commuter at the end of 2012 with promises that production was on the horizon. And, now that we’re about halfway through 2013, like clockwork, Honda is moving forward with prototype testing.

Honda Micro concept car

Obviously, we still don’t know a whole lot about the Micro Commuter. But, here are the basics that we know for sure:

* The Micro Commuter is a pure EV powered by a surprisingly powerful 15kW lithium-ion battery, compared to the 7kW battery used in the Twizy.
* Just like the Twizy, the NMC and the i-Road Concept, the Micro Commuter features a 1+1 seating arrangement with the driver in the front and a single passenger crammed into the back. But, there’s a twist (more below).
* As of right now, Honda’s super-urban EV has a range of 37 miles, which it can blast through at 50 mph.

Nothing unexpected there. In fact, you might be wondering what the unique selling point is for Honda’s Micro Commuter that sets it apart from the already-well-established EV from Renault. The answer is interesting; Honda plans to separate the Micro Commuter from the competition with a modular design. This would allow the car to be adapted to each driver’s independent needs, as per the photo below:

Honda micro commuter EV

For example, the rear seat could be switched out with a double-seat that would be perfect for two small children. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, Honda says the Micro Commuter would make a perfect urban delivery vehicle if you remove the back seat altogether.

In addition to the interior, the exterior body will apparently feature modular components as well, although we still don’t know exactly what that means. My guess is that we’ll see a production-ready Micro Commuter either at the end of this year or the beginning of 2014. Either way, you’ll get updates as soon as we do, so stay tuned to Integrity Exports for more Japanese car news coming soon.

Sources: Car Scoops, Autoblog

Infiniti’s Luxury EV Facing “Not Significant” Delays

Posted by Stephen On Friday, July 19th, 2013

Okay, okay, maybe “plans” isn’t the right word here. At least, we can safely assume that Carlos Ghosn didn’t WANT to postpone the release of the Leaf-based Infiniti LE, but such is life. With no major updates planned for the Nissan Leaf in 2014, it’s looking like next year might be the first uneventful 365 days for Nissan’s all-electric game-plan in several years.

For those of you who need a refresher course, Infiniti first debuted the LE concept last year at the 2012 New York Motor Show. We saw the concept again earlier this year, this time with the extra detail that in no way, shape, or form would the Infiniti LE ever be released without wireless induction charging. In other words, Ghosn (rightly) feels that a luxury EV should be hands-free and devoid of the normal hassle of charging.

The Infiniti EV was originally scheduled for a 2015 model year, however, earlier this week Andy Palmer told Autonews Europe that there would be some “not significant” delays. Palmer, who is Nissan’s head of global planning, emphasized that this delay is NOT in any way indicative of a decreased interest in electric vehicles, or in delivering those vehicles to luxury drivers. Instead, he cites that, “There are some interesting advances in electric technology we hadn’t anticipated when we showed the LE, which, by delaying a little bit, we can incorporate into the car.”

Furthermore, Palmer hinted that Ghosn and co. had expected a more dominant induction charging system to emerge from the many competing technologies. But, as of right now, they’re still scrambling.

Or could it be that Tesla’s Model S is already well ahead of where Infiniti want to be and their supercharging system could also make their induction charger look old hat before it’s even out of the development stage.

On the other hand, the delay isn’t all bad. In addition to solidifying the use of induction technology, Infiniti also plans to use the extra time to incorporate several new technologies into the Infiniti LE. In fact, Palmer went so far as to state that upcoming developments in lithium ion batteries alone would justify the delay; apparently these improved batteries will allow significant savings while simultaneously increasing driving range and battery capacity. In addition, Infiniti may take this time to incorporate things like water-cooling into their powertrain, which would make the aforementioned improved batteries last longer and perform better.

Even though the Infiniti LE and Nissan Leaf may take a backseat during 2014, that doesn’t mean Nissan won’t be doing anything interesting.

For one, Ghosn will still maintain his goal of 1.5 million EVs by 2015, and Nissan Leafs will continue to sell extremely well. In fact, right now Leafs are selling faster than Nissan can make them.

For two, Nissan has at least one arguably more interesting car coming next year in the form of the new Nissan GT-R, which is getting tweaked, tuned and hybridized. And we haven’t even touched on the next-gen Nissan Rogue or the upcoming Pathfinder Hybrid (although we covered the latter during the 2013 New York Motor Show).

Well, there you have it – consider yourself updated and in-the-know about Nissan’s all-electric plans. If you have anything you’d like to add, feel free to chime in below. Otherwise, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more Japanese car-related news coming soon.

Source: Car Scoops

Nissan Updates Us On The Future Of Their Twizy-Based Mobility Concept

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Regular readers will recall an article we published a couple months ago about Nissan’s new Mobility Concept. At the time, we didn’t really get it. As far as we knew, the NMC was simply a Japan-only re-badging of the already existing Twizy. Don’t get me wrong, the Twizy is a great car and I duly noted why Nissan would want one of their own in a market like Japan. But still, I was expecting something more. In the article, I even predicted that we’d be seeing improvements from Nissan before the expected launch in 2015.

Well, earlier this week, we found out exactly what those improvements will be. Basically, Nissan confirmed that their version of Renault’s best-selling city car will address many of the car’s built-in weaknesses in order to move upmarket and eventually sell internationally. More specifically, Nissan says they want to offer drivers the agility and convenience of a motorcycle coupled with the safety and weather-resistance of a car. How do they do that? With a weather-proofed and re-styled Twizy, of course!

Looking Back to the 2008 Land Glider Concept

Nissan Land Glider concept car

The folks who broke the story at Auto News Europe made an interesting connection between the Renault Twizy and an old, easily forgotten Nissan concept from for years past, the Land Glider Concept. The car was originally shown back in 2009, and shows a clear resemblance to the one-year-old Renault Twizy.

What does this mean? Simply that Nissan has been thinking about a city car for at least four years.

Check out this video and see the Land Glider in action:

When questioned about the similarities between the Land Glider Concept and a possible Nissan Twizy-based vehicle, Etienne Henry, Nissan’s head of product strategy and planning, simply replied that, “It was a very interesting concept with very challenging and meaningful technology.” Meaningful? I bet it was, Mr. Henry.

Why Nissan May Not Have a Choice

You might think that this this is a clear act of genius on the part of Nissan. They listened to the masses, heard that the Twizy had a few select problems (such as a harsh suspension), and are now producing a perfectly amended vehicle that everyone will love. They’re moving upmarket because they can make more money that way, or because they know people will pay for their superior city car car, right?

While that very well may be the case and I’m happy to give credit where credit is due, I suspect that the terms of the Renault-Nissan alliance were the primary motivation. Basically, if Nissan wants a Twizy of their own – and they do – then their agreement prohibits them from selling at the same or lower price than the Twizy. So, they’re being smart and making the car better, hopefully enough so that moving upmarket won’t hurt sales too much on a car that’s primary selling point is affordability.

Obviously, all of this makes Nissan’s testing in Japan with the NMC a lot more sensible. You might remember that Japan’s Ministry of Transportation is going to prohibit Nissan from selling their version of the Twizy until they feel that the average driver could handle it safely. The NMC is paving the way for something better.

Even more than last time, I can say with confidence that we will see a lot more improvements between the NMC and the eventual release (hopefully in 2015) of Nissan’s own three-wheeled city car. Rest assured that you’ll get updates as soon as we do. As always, thanks for reading!

Sources: Green Car Reports, Auto News, Car Scoops, Auto Evolution