Nissan Promises Aggressive EV Push

Goal Is to Cut Costs, Boost Global Sales
Nissan EVs
(Nissan Global via YouTube)

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TOKYO — Nissan will expand its electric vehicle lineup, develop more powerful batteries and cut production costs, while speeding up the whole process, in what the Japanese automaker’s chief called “The Arc” pathway to higher sales by 2030.

“The auto industry is now being forced to reshape its values so we can say continuous change is the new normal,” Chief Executive Makoto Uchida told reporters March 25, in outlining a sprawling but ambitious business plan.

“Nissan must change. We cannot succeed if we continue along the same path.”

Costs will come down for electric models so they’ll be about the same as gasoline-engine models by fiscal 2030, while global sales will grow by a million vehicles during that period, he added.

Last year, Nissan Motor Co. sold nearly 3.4 million vehicles around the world, up about 5% from the previous year.

The company is planning 30 new models over the next three years, 16 of them EVs. Nissan plans to launch 34 EV models from fiscal 2024 through fiscal 2030, so that EVs will account for 40% of its global offerings by fiscal 2026, and 60% by the end of the decade.

To slash costs, Nissan says it will start working with suppliers from the development stage, upgrade production methods to incorporate robotics and artificial intelligence, and have models sharing components — not just platforms but also parts. It also promised innovation in autonomous vehicles to make driving safer.

Nissan, based in the port city of Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, will leverage its partnerships around the world, including those with smaller Japanese maker Mitsubishi Motors Corp., with Dongfeng Nissan in China, and in the alliance it has with French automaker Renault.

Earlier this month, Nissan announced it was in talks on forming a partnership with Japanese rival Honda Motor Co. in electrification and artificial intelligence.

Such tie-ups between rivals are relatively unusual but are needed to keep up with surging demand for more sustainable transport as concerns grow over carbon emissions and sustainability, analysts say.

Nissan, Japan’s No. 2 automaker, was an early EV adapter, coming out with the Leaf EV in late 2010. In recent years, Japanese automakers have fallen behind Tesla of the U.S. and Chinese manufacturers like BYD.

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Automakers, including Nissan, have taken a hit from shortages of computer chips and other parts due to disruptions related to the pandemic.

Nissan’s offerings of new EVs, plug-ins and hybrids will increase across all global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Japan, the rest of Asia, Australia and Africa, Uchida said.

“The Arc plan shows our path to the future. It illustrates our continuous progression and ability to navigate changing market conditions. This plan will enable us to go further and faster in driving value and competitiveness,” he said, referring to Nissan’s goals.