Nissan’s boss has said that all the vehicles it launches in Europe will be electric from now on.
Makoto Uchida was speaking at Nissan Europe’s design studio in London yesterday, where he unveiled its city car-based Concept 20-23.
In what was widely regarded as a snub to last week’s sudden U-turn by the government that saw the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales moved forward by five years, he said: ‘There’s no going back – the world needs to move on from ICEs [internal combustion engines].
‘From this point onwards, every single Nissan model launched in Europe will be fully electric. In 2030, Nissan will be here and ready for EV. It is the right thing to do.’
He added: ‘As battery technology evolves, we are working to achieve price parity with ICEs, because when it comes to the planet we have a responsibility to be a part of the solution, and as part of an ecosystem involving renewables, grid integration and battery storage.
‘EVs are the ultimate solution for future mobility.’
Uchida highlighted Nissan’s £1bn investment in upgrading its battery gigafactory in Sunderland as a symbol of its commitment in EVs, and urged more manufacturers to join forces on building EVs.
‘We need everyone on board,’ he said.
‘We are not the only OEM who will be ready in 2030, but if we all work together we will solve the current challenges and make way for a sustainable future.’
It’s already known that the Sunderland plant will build a crossover replacement for the Leaf electric hatchback, but Uchida’s latest statement confirms that future generations of Nissan’s best-selling crossovers, Qashqai and Juke, will also be pure-electric.
Today’s Times quoted the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit’s head of transport, Colin Walker, as saying: ‘Nissan’s decision is based on a clear understanding that the European and UK markets are shifting to electric vehicles and shifting fast.
‘Companies will be making decisions on where to build the electric vehicles of the future and where to build the battery factories and other elements of the supply chain that are needed to make it all happen.
‘One of the things these companies will be looking for is stable government policy – something that the UK has not provided in recent days with its U-turn on the petrol and diesel phase-out date.’
The Concept 20-23 was unveiled by Uchida on a floating barge moored on the Grand Union Canal outside Nissan Design Europe (NDE) in Paddington, which opened 20 years ago.
The city car-based design concept follows on from other so-called ‘Pike’ Nissan cars, such as the Be-1, Pao, Figaro and S-Cargo. Nissan says the concept car ‘brings a 21st-century twist to this small-car tradition’.
The ’23’ part of the name reflects the current year as well as the Japanese carmaker’s traditional numbers – 2 (ni) and 3 (san).
It says the three-door hot hatchback takes key design themes from its online racing and Formula E activities, and has dramatically styled bodywork and wings to aid cooling and cut drag.
The car also boasts fat, vented arches housing large alloy wheels in low profile tyres, as well as a large single-piece spoiler with endplates to generate downforce.
It’s in a textured grey paint colour to give ‘the impression of being hewn from a single piece of metal’, says Nissan.
Concept 20-23 was an exterior design study, but the Paddington-based designers also came up with a separate interior.
It features two bucket racing seats, a steering wheel ‘festooned with multiple controls and adjustments’, plus two screens displaying vital driving information.
Speaking at the unveiling, Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice-president for global design, said: ‘The young team here at NDE was given a simple brief: design a fun electric city car that you’d like to drive every day in London.
‘The 20-23 Concept that they designed is a compact hatchback which is strongly influenced by the online racing world.
‘I love the story it tells about how the worlds of modern city living, online gaming and zero-emissions mobility intersect.’
He added: ‘It’s a fitting celebration of 20 years of NDE where bold ideas have taken shape and come to life!’
Main picture: Makoto Uchida unveils the Nissan Concept 20-23 in Paddington. Image: Jon Reay