Nissan Betting Big On the Future


In 1947, the future seemed undeniably petrol-powered. Despite oil shortages after World War II, the internal combustion giant seemed unstoppable in the long run. By 1955, three-quarters of his cars sold in the United States were powered by V8 engines. But 1947 saw a countercultural move by Nissan when the manufacturer unveiled its first fully electric car. This trend was repeated with several imaginative concept cars leading to the Nissan Leaf, the world’s first production EV.

EV expert and journalist Tim Stevens said, “The Nissan Leaf was one of the first mainstream EVs to hit the market and until recently was the best-selling EV in the world.” It’s a huge accomplishment for a humble hatchback that hasn’t really stood out in the world, and to this day remains the best-selling pre-owned EV.” changed by the climate crisis and a landslide of legislative mandates threatening the internal combustion engine as we know it.

“The Leaf has always been a solid car, but for most of its life, there was little to stop the competition,” Stevens says. “From now on, with all the major manufacturers entering the EV race, the competition for future EVs like the Nissan Ariya will be fierce.” The pressure on the Nissan Ariya is real. “With this car, Nissan is pushing into the luxury market with a much more luxurious and attractive product,” Stevens said. With many consumers deciding to jump on the bandwagon, there are still plenty of opportunities for great EV options.”

I am Makoto Uchida, President and CEO of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

The Nissan Ariya’s futuristic interior and 304-mile range significantly outshine the pragmatic Leaf, but Nissan is taking aggressive steps to tackle the future head-on. Under its Ambition 2030 plan, the automaker has invested $7.5 billion in electrification since 2010 and plans to reduce that amount by 2026 to meet rapidly changing consumer needs. I expect it to double. Electrification is a frequent buzzword in today’s automotive industry, but tackling tomorrow’s issues will be more complex than simply switching to battery power, especially through the prism of Japanese manufacturers with a global audience. Battery electric vehicles are an attractive solution for some use cases, but they are a comprehensive solution for all conceivable environments: short urban drives, long road trips, and everything in between. Creating a sensible solution is more complicated than it sounds. Add in the slow progress of self-driving technology and Nissan’s positioning as a value-conscious brand, and predicting the future is starting to get a little more complicated.

“I think so [EV] Chris Reed, Nissan’s Americas Research and Development Officer, said: With our self-driving cars, we’re working to make them available across our entire lineup, not just Infiniti’s premium models.” He adds that it means having to navigate through a difficult set of variables. “Current EVs are great, but in terms of affordability and profit, they don’t reach the same profit level as ICE[internal combustion engine]cars. “Recent supply chain issues further complicate the process. We manufacture most of it, and for the production of microchips.”

Adapting to the needs of a rapidly changing world has resulted in a structural shift in how Nissan enables change, Reed said. “For decades, most of the hard stuff was handled and done in Japan. [regionally]we are now growing in the sense that we are taking ownership… starting on paper, making sketches, testing and moving to physical builds. Another beast. This means that Nissan’s Japan and Silicon Valley teams are working in parallel on the development of the battery, and testing can take place in Michigan.

Predicting customer appetite typically requires a combination of benchmarking, consumer interviews, and trend forecasting, while tackling dramatic changes in the industry requires a forward-thinking approach. Martensia House, vice president of Nissan and his director of Alliance Global at the Alliance Innovation Lab in Silicon Valley, is close to a future prophet seen in the auto industry. “My role is he has two,” he says. “One, he looks 10 or 20 years into the future. The other is working with Advanced Engineering organizations on a shorter time frame.”

Sierhaus’ 13 years of experience working for NASA as a senior scientist on robotics projects for Mars exploration makes him uniquely positioned for the task. His background in self-driving car technology allowed him to advance his AV project for Nissan. He now reflects on his collaboration with NASA’s Ames Research Centerwork, while also focusing on topics such as remote manipulation, human-machine interaction, and computational materials science. “It’s been a fruitful partnership for both sides,” he says.

Regarding the future, Sierhaus emphasizes that there is not one magic technical bullet that ties everything together in a magic bow, but rather a series of solutions that combine to solve the pressing problem of mass mobility. “The fields of electrification and automation are merging into this new software he ecosystem that will be in cars,” he says. This is reflected in SAM, Nissan’s acronym for Seamless Autonomous Mobility. Research into new battery materials will also use elements of data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Lithium-ion battery technology continues to evolve as the industry seeks to reduce its reliance on rare earth metals, but Reed said the technology is “…albeit with incremental improvements and less threat to the supply chain. , we need to get to the next level of battery, which is why we are working in parallel more than ever.”

“Nissan wants to be an early adopter of all-solid-state batteries,” says Tim Stevens. “All-solid-state batteries have the potential to significantly improve energy density, which means longer range, lighter weight, and faster charging with less risk of fire.” , with that particular solution, experts continue to work overtime. “Most solid-state battery designs also require significantly higher lithium usage,” Stevens says. “Given the already global shortage of supplies, bringing such batteries into mass production will certainly be a challenge.”

Risks, challenges and headwinds aside, Sierhaus and his team are bullish about the future, citing promising avenues not only for electrification and automation, but also for how machines can make human jobs better and more effective. is open. “For me, it was all about managing how people, autonomous systems and robots work together. I think the industry has reached the same understanding, which is great,” he adds.


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