Nissan considers hybrid engines, fuel cells and biofuels and trucks
Nissan has confirmed it is considering options for hybrid powertrain, hydrogen fuel cell and biofuels for future light commercial vehicles, including Titan’s large pickup.
When asked about future LCV drivability at Nissan Futures in Singapore last week, global director of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and general manager of Nissan Research Center Kazuhiro Doi proposed three changes. for internal combustion engine.
I think one of the possible solutions is electrification – electrification, he said. We can improve the efficiency of gasoline or diesel engines more by supporting electrification technologies.
‘e-Power’ is a version of Nissan’s hybrid system that uses electric motors to drive wheels while a small-capacity petrol engine and a battery-powered regenerative brake – similar to the Holden Volt.
This technology is currently available with Serena users and the Note light hatch is offered overseas, but Nissan has announced it will soon introduce many ‘e-Power models’.
Another might be the fuel cell technology. It is also okay to use biofuels or use hydrogen. Because in the case of hydrogen, the problem is distribution. But if it’s using the fleet, we can have a hydrogen station to use for the fleet.
Another problem is hydrogen storage. In the case of hydrogen tanks, we only need to increase the capacity. And even though we increase the capacity of the hydrogen tank, the weight itself does not change, it carries only hydrogen. But in the case of batteries, if we double the battery, the weight will double. That is the important difference.
He also proposed using biofuels as another green option for LCV, and added that the cost of hydrogen technology is still too high to implement.
In the case of biofuels, there is a lot of energy available, much easier than hydrogen. Maybe in that sense, it may be more realistic. And I believe, technology wise, both (biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells) are possible.
The question is how can we commercialize it. To commercialize it, we still need a breakthrough in cost. Not only technology but also distribution.
Specifically, biofuels are developed from liquids extracted from other materials such as plant and animal waste.
Nissan used the Electronic Fuel Cell Prototype in 2016, using a special fuel cell made of solid oxide electrolytes instead of precious metals, allowing the conversion of hydrogen gas into electricity to Create 24kWh battery generating electric motorbike.
Currently, there are a number of Nissan LCVs sold globally, including mid-size Navara and large Titan pickup trucks, NV200 / 300/400 and fully electric e-NV200 trucks and NT400 light trucks.
Doi said he did not think heavy trucks should be powered by pure electric drives due to their considerable weight.
Electric cars cannot include everything. Usually a heavy truck puts a lot of load and the vehicle itself is heavy. I think not a good idea to order tons of batteries on heavy trucks.
Is it a good idea to put more weight on the car? It has something strange. Also heavy trucks run long distances. Preferably there are some other alternatives.
However, Tesla unveiled the Semi-electrified truck last November, providing the required driving range from 483 to 80 km in a single charge thanks to four electric motors.
The vice president of regional marketing and sales of Nissan Motor Asia Pacific in Asia and Oceania, Vincent Wijnen, confirmed that the company is considering expanding its electrified LCV models.
We are selling a lot of LCV globally, but it’s very different in each region, he said. In this area, including Australia, I don’t think it was necessarily the focus, except for utes or pick-ups. But if you discount and look at trucks or small trucks, compared to other regions, we haven’t really focused on it.
Mr. Wijnen added that considering other services and technologies from Nissan’s alliance partners is another possibility.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Because we have products in our lineup, he said.
We are now part of the alliance, so it is much easier to access complete assets or products or share components when you are that size.
So, I think that is one of the things we need, we are looking forward to making sure. Because it is an opportunity that today we do not necessarily need to exploit it thoroughly.
Nissan Australia’s CEO and CEO, Stephen Lester, said he is willing to evaluate local electrified LCVs – like the aforementioned e-NV200 – but pledges that these products will have to economically proven.
As I told the product group many times, there is no product that we should not consider at least looking at, he said. All returned to commercial capabilities, the ability to meet local government regulations to match and bring a product that meets expectations of safety and performance, and is in line with expectations. of Australian consumers.
Mr. Lester added that he had no updates on Titan’s Australian business case, but he said such a model could be a success.
It’s no secret that I think there’s an opportunity in Australia for the car. This is one of the largest ute markets in the world. But there is no major player there from a considerable volume perspective, and right now I know there is speculation anyway, but the reality is that I think Titan can be a vehicle if we can take it to Australia, it will work.