Nissan Has One Big Problem With Electric Pickups And SUVs

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But that doesn't mean it isn't continually eyeing the technology for its entire model lineup.

Nissan's path to electrification has already been set, with e-Power hybrids standing as a transitionary stage before full electrification of the entire range. Now, Nissan executives have told CarBuzz where the company's pickup trucks, like the Frontier, and SUVs stand from an electrification perspective.

We asked Nissan's senior vice president for global product planning and program management, Ivan Espinosa, whether the brand's trucks and body-on-frame SUVs would receive e-Power versions before fully electric ones.

Espinosa's immediate response was expected, that Nissan is watching the market and keeping a close eye on tax incentives, which play a major role in pricing.

However, Espinosa added that they still have things to develop with e-Power, especially in terms of towing. This is an important consideration as these vehicles are also used for towing, and naturally, the company wants to ensure that it is meeting customers' needs.


"One of the things [we consider] is that e-Power is not the best solution for towing. It's very good for cargo loading, the same as an EV. But when it comes to towing, it's not the best… yet. We're working on that," said Espinosa.

Nissan was among the first automakers to sell mass-market electric vehicles with the Leaf, but it understands that the market hasn't completely opened its arms to full electrification. For that gap, the Japanese marque introduced e-Power - a range of hybrid vehicles exclusively propelled by an electric motor but carry internal combustion engines that charge the battery on the go. In other words, range anxiety is not an issue with Nissan's e-Power systems which use combustion as a range extender.

But as Espinosa pointed out, it seems like the automaker's e-Power technology isn't fit for what workhorses like trucks and body-on-frame SUVs are expected to do.

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It's a work in progress, but the concept isn't ruled out. He also toyed with the idea of making full electric versions of the Navara (the Frontier's global equivalent) and Terra (a modern equivalent of the X-Terra previously sold stateside), depending on where the market trend goes.

"Looking at, again, the evolution of Kicks (which has e-Power variants in Asia) and what comes after, we keep doing a good job of positioning the technology, and probably more in the years to come. And in that moment, we will see how far we go with pickups. Whether we do an e-Power or we do an EV, or there are several solutions that we can do," he concluded.

By the end of this decade, Nissan will be in full transition toward electrification, so what Espinosa said was hardly a revelation. This is still a waiting game, but don't be surprised if electric versions of legacy models like the Pathfinder, Frontier, and the Z will become a reality in the future.


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