Nissan EV technologies—So far in such a short time

Angel Rivero (The Philippine Star) - November 10, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Pioneer to the world’s bestselling and safest electric car – the innovative Nissan Leaf – Nissan Motor Co. certainly must have felt like it was in its home court of technologies at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show held recently at the Tokyo Big Sight in Ariake, Koto-ku, with the theme of “Your Heart Will Race.”

The Motor Show highlighted an electrifying display (pun intended) of futuristic concept cars that showcased intelligent driving technologies, new-age electric vehicles, vehicles that ran on alternative energy sources and the advent of autonomous vehicles. Being at the forefront of developing alternative cars for the future, Nissan Motor Co. took special pride in presenting three of its latest concept vehicles in center stage: The Nissan IDS, Nissan Gripz and Nissan Teatro for Dayz concept cars.

No less than Chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn was there to personally open the floor for Nissan’s motorshow display presentation and press launch.

“Nissan is a technology powerhouse,” emphasized Ghosn during his opening remarks in front of the media, pointing out that one needs a lot of technology to in fact, develop new trends. With the alliance of Renault and Nissan, the company has only grown stronger and more able to further develop its ‘Piloted Drive’ – Nissan’s proprietary, autonomous drive technology. For such intelligent driving, the benchmark is to eventually achieve zero emissions and zero fatalities.

Moreover, Ghosn went on to explaining that one of their company’s goals is to make sure that for the consumer, “time spent behind the wheel is safer, more efficient and more fun.” And furthered that the company will progressively be introducing components of autonomous driving technologies into some of their cars as the years come by.

These new-age technologies will first be installed in vehicles that will first be introduced in Japan, China, Europe and the USA. By January 2016, enhanced Nissan Leafs will also be available in the market. Now boasting quicker acceleration, smoother handling and an impressive electric range of 280km on a full charge (in Japanese driving conditions), the Leaf is even more promising than ever, especially in a world clouded by pollution and carbon emissions.

“Nissan is the largest producer/seller of cars in the UK today, shared Ghosn, also pointing out that it happens to be the number 1 Japanese carmaker in China today. Which the secrets to this success, he shared, are: localization, finding a good partner and producing a good product. “More hiccups are coming to the car industry in the next two to three years!” he warned. Hence, the company is pursuing the development of these futuristic technologies—to stay abreast with emerging trends.

The Nissan IDS Concept is a futuristic car that offers both Manual Drive Mode and Piloted Drive Mode. As the name suggests, in Manual Drive Mode the steering wheel is available and the driver has full control over operating the vehicle. However in Piloted Drive Mode, the steering wheel retracts into the instrument panel (ala-science-fiction-vehicle), and is instead replaced by a large display screen as the car goes on autopilot. And to make things more exciting in this state, all four seats of the car, in fact, rotate toward each other – to encourage socials amongst the passengers (as the driver is now freed of his driving), and for all of them to better appreciate the available visual entertainment within the vehicle, as the car continues its piloted drive. This is executed via AI (artificial intelligence) that is likewise supported by sensors, cameras and laser technology. And as an added bonus, the Nissan IDS Concept should be able to learn your driving style – so sitting in the car should still feel natural and comfortable.

Meanwhile, the Nissan Gripz Concept is an EV-based series hybrid sports crossover. Inspired by classic desert rally cars and racing bicycles, it carries an awesome radical design alongside an advanced powertrain concept (featuring Nissan’s series hybrid powertrain, Pure Drive e-power and the Leaf’s high-capacity electric motor). Like the 240Z, this vehicle shows that vehicles do not necessarily need to be low to be sporty. In a nutshell, it’s a half sports car, half dynamic off-roader.

Now, among the more peculiar vehicles on display at the Nissan booth was the Teatro for Dayz – a curious EV minicar seemingly ahead of its time. It struts a bare-canvas, minimalist interior that is meant to serve as a ‘canvas’ for its passengers’ imagination! Meaning, you could project images and create light shows or even a disco-ball ambience within the vehicle’s interior; or even play video games on the instrument panel – making this machine go beyond the definition of a car, and almost extend into becoming a huge, mobile digital gadget! The Teatro for Dayz was designed for a generation that will redefine the role of cars – kids who grew up with so much technology (called ‘share natives’), they might not even be interested in actually ‘driving’ a car themselves.

Finally, for the skeptics, Carlos Ghosn explains that when it comes to the art of autonomous cars, “Our goal is to empower you!” Drawing the line between intelligent driving and a person’s losing control altogether, he clarifies, “As the operator, you choose when and when not to drive the car... It is completely different from driverless cars!”


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