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Nissan to Test Robocabs Ahead of 2022 Launch of First Fully Autonomous Vehicles

Japanese maker plans to bring increasingly sophisticated self-driving tech to market each year.

by on Dec.11, 2017

A prototype, 1st-gen Nissan Leaf is shown during testing in Tokyo traffic.

One of the first automakers to commit to developing autonomous vehicle technology, Nissan plans to begin field-testing its first robocabs in Japan next year, part of an expanding development program aimed at putting fully autonomous vehicles into production by 2022.

The pilot program, pairing Nissan with technology development firm DeNA, will operate near the Japanese automaker’s headquarters in Yokohama. It will be the latest in a fast-growing series of self-driving ride-share programs, including one started by Google spin-off Waymo this year. Lyft is launching its own field test in Boston. And Nissan’s alliance partner, Renault has been testing similar technology in France.

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Nissan last week revealed it intends to have its first fully autonomous vehicle in production sometime during the 2022 calendar year. But the carmaker plans to introduce a series of increasingly sophisticated, semi-autonomous technologies before then, starting with the ProPilot system debuting on the 2018 Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle.

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Nissan Looking to Add Electric SUV

Would join second-generation Leaf hatchback.

by on Sep.07, 2017

As the new Leaf begins rolling off assembly lines, Nissan officials are trying to determine what type of vehicle they'll electrify next.

Even as it launches its second-generation Leaf battery-electric vehicle, Nissan Motor Co. is looking to the future and considering what electrified products could come next.

“We might have a crossover EV shortly in the future,” Daniele Schillaci, the Japanese automaker’s global marketing and sales director told reporters on Thursday.

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Such a move would not only expand the automaker’s line-up of all-electric models but move it into one of the world’s fastest-growing product segments. SUVs are especially popular in the U.S., where light trucks, in general, now account for almost two-thirds of the total new vehicle market. (more…)

Your Guide to the 20 or More Long-Range EVs Coming to Market by 2020

Manufacturers betting on longer range, improved performance, lower prices and faster charging.

by on Sep.06, 2017

The 2018 Nissan Leaf.

With last night’s debut of its second-generation Leaf, Nissan becomes the latest automaker to charge into the long-range battery-electric market.

The 2018 model will travel an estimated 150 miles per charge — or nearly double what the original version of the battery-electric model delivered when it debuted in 2010. Though not quite up to the 200-plus-mile range of the new Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt, the new Nissan Leaf is expected to be part of a game-changing trend that will bring a wave of long-range battery cars to market, vehicles that will largely eliminate the concept of “range anxiety” from the vocabulary.

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The 2018 Leaf introduces a number of new features, such as its ProPilot Assist system, while keeping the price down at $30,000 – before factoring in federal tax incentives – underscoring another critical trend in the battery-electric market: as battery costs plunge, automakers are bringing more new EVs into mainstream price segments. Add faster charging and the potential appeal of these new models grows exponentially. (more…)

Renault-Nissan Join Growing List of Automakers Setting Up Chinese EV Operations

Euro-Japanese Alliance partnering with China’s Dongfeng.

by on Aug.29, 2017

The next-generation Nissan Leaf was recently spotted, sans camouflage, in Spain.

With the Chinese government pressing the auto industry to shift to electrified vehicles, a growing number of automakers are launching new ventures specifically to produce battery-electric models. To that list you can now add the Renault-Nissan Alliance and its Chinese partner, Dongfeng Motor Corp.

They plan to create a new joint venture, eGT New Energy Automotive Co., Ltd., that will develop an entirely new battery-electric vehicle which, according to a statement by the partners, will feature “intelligent interconnectivity.” Production is set to begin at the Dongfeng plant in Shiyan in 2019.

Future Products!

“The establishment of the new joint venture with Dongfeng confirms our common commitment to develop competitive electric vehicles for the Chinese market,” said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

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Leaked Pics Show More Conservative Nissan Leaf

Gen-2 battery-car set for September debut.

by on Aug.07, 2017

A reader of Broom, a Norwegian magazine, caught the new Leaf being filmed in Spain.

With little more than a month to go before Nissan pulls the covers off its second-generation Leaf, what appear to be pictures of the battery-electric vehicle being shot for a promotional video have leaked out onto the web.

The Japanese automaker has already dropped some hints about the update, revealing that it will be the first of its products to get the semi-autonomous ProPilot Assist technology, as well as the drive-by-wire e-Pedal system which will effectively allow a motorist to use the throttle pedal to both accelerate and stop.

Spy shots!

But the newly leaked images, on top of a company-released shot of the 2018 Nissan Leaf headlamps, indicate the new model will be far less quirky and distinctive than the original battery-electric vehicle. If anything, it will now look a lot more like the European subcompact, the Nissan Micra.

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All-New Nissan Leaf to Add e-Pedal Technology

System will allow one-foot driving under most conditions.

by on Jul.19, 2017

Nissan plans some major changes when it launches the next-gen Leaf in September.

When Nissan launches an all-new version of its Leaf battery-electric vehicle later this year it is planning to do more than just double its range. You can expect to see the new model add a range of new technologies, as well.

That includes both the semi-autonomous ProPilot Assist, as well as e-Pedal, a new system that essentially transforms the throttle into a multifunction control that can be used to accelerate, slow and even come to a complete stop.

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“Drivers can cover 90% of their driving needs with the e-Pedal, making the process of driving more exciting,” Nissan said in a statement released Wednesday. “In heavy traffic and during city commutes, drivers will greatly reduce the need to shift from one pedal to the other, making your drive simpler and more engaging.”

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Nissan Offers Tease of All-New 2018 LEAF EV.

“Big step up" with longer range, less quirky design.

by on May.18, 2017

Nissan teases the new Leaf's design by showing off the new EV's far less quirky headlights.

Nissan is starting to spotlight the upcoming launch of its completely redesigned Leaf battery-electric vehicle.

Make that headlight the new EV. What the second-largest Japanese makers calls a “first glimpse at the next-generation Leaf” zeroes on the new BEVs twin lamps. With an LED light bar for running lights, what appear to be twin LED headlamps look far more conventional than the bubble lights found on the current Nissan Leaf.

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No surprise, Nissan is expected to make the 2018 remake a bit less quirky than the gen-one Leaf, although it will remain visually distinct from the rest of the maker’s line-up. “It’s definitely a big step up from the current car,” a high-level Nissan official tells TheDetroitBureau.com.

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Plug-Ins You Won’t Have to Plug In?

Wireless charging set to simplify operation for owners.

by on Mar.20, 2017

A schematic illustration of how the Mercedes-Benz S550e can charge up wirelessly.

In the not-too-distant future, your plug-in may not need to be plugged in.

When the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S550e makes its debut later this year, the plug-in hybrid will not need to be tethered to a charging station to top off its batteries, at least not if an owner has access to use the new Halo systems developed by San Diego-based Qualcomm. All they’ll need to do is position the big Benz sedan over an inductive mat.

Beyond the Headlines!

Similar technology is already becoming commonplace for cellphones such as the Samsung Galaxy Edge. And a number of automakers, including Honda, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors, are building wireless phone charging mats into their vehicles. But the next step is to amp up the technology so it can wirelessly charge plug-based vehicles.

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Nissan Looking to Sell Battery Manufacturing Operations

Panasonic reportedly one possible buyer.

by on Aug.08, 2016

The Nissan Leaf has been the world's best-selling battery car since its late 2009 launch.

Nissan Motor Co. is reportedly looking to sell its battery manufacturing operations, with Panasonic Corp. considered the most likely buyer.

Japan’s second-largest automaker has made a major bet on electric vehicles, but, with the market for battery cars running slower than expected, it is seeking to unload its 51% stake in the Automotive Energy Supply Corporation, or AESC, joint venture. The likely buyer, according to a report by the Reuter’s news service is Panasonic, which is the partner in Tesla’s Gigafactory battery plant in Reno, Nevada.

Power Up!

“The report on Nissan and its battery business is speculation and is not based on any announcement by us,” David Reuter, a senior company spokesman, told TheDetroitBureau.com. But he also noted that the maker will “continuously evaluate our business strategy in pursuit of optimal products and business structure.”

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Better Late Than Never: Chevy Volt Sales Finally Hit 100,000 Mark

Tesla Model S outselling Volt despite rising sales.

by on Aug.01, 2016

Chevy hit a milestone: it recently took an order for the 100,000th Volt.

Chevrolet is marking an important milestone, General Motors’ biggest brand taking an order for the 100,000th Volt plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle.

The Chevy Volt has been one of the world’s top-selling plug-based vehicles ever since its launch in December 2010, but tempering any celebration is the fact that the Volt hasn’t come close to meeting the brand’s once-ambitious sales targets. At one point, GM officials were hoping to deliver as many as 40,000 of the vehicles annually in the U.S. alone.

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“Not only is the Volt a class-creator, it serves as the foundation of a Chevrolet electric family that will soon add the first long-range, affordable EV available to customers across the U.S., the Chevrolet Bolt EV,” said Steve Majoros, director of marketing, Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers, in a statement. (more…)