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Nissan Accelerates Electrification Strategy

By Sarah Lozanova

Recently, the Japanese automaker Nissan unveiled its 2030 vision showing what it says is a stronger commitment to electric vehicles (EVs) and the circular economy. The automaker will invest $17.6 billion over five years to electrify more vehicles with plans to create 23 electrified models by 2030, with 15 being all-electric. In addition, the automaker intends to reach a 50 percent electrification mix for the Nissan and Infiniti brands by the end of fiscal year 2030.

“We are proud of our long track record of innovation, and of our role in delivering the EV revolution. With our new ambition, we continue to take the lead in accelerating the natural shift to EVs by creating customer pull through an attractive proposition by driving excitement, enabling adoption, and creating a cleaner world,” said Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta.

Advancing all-solid-state batteries

Nissan also plans to establish a global battery supply system to support the expansion of EVs. In fact, it is working on all-solid-state batteries (ASSB) and plans to release its proprietary ASSB by 2028. Plans also call for opening such a pilot battery plant in Yokohama, Japan, as early as 2024. The company anticipates decreasing battery costs with this approach to $75 per kilowatt hour (kWh) by 2028 and $65 per kWh subsequently.

By working with its various partners, Nissan seeks to increase its worldwide battery production capacity to 52 GWh by 2026, and to 130 GWh by 2030, according to a press release.

ASSB has a higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries, which currently power most EVs. Also, all-solid-state batteries don’t have the same safety concerns as lithium-ion batteries as they at lower risk of exploding or catching fire. Thus, cars with ASSBs theoretically wouldn’t need as many safety components, saving space. Therefore, these batteries could extend the range of EVs, save money, and reduce charging times to one-third; however, they are not commercially viable just yet.

Long-term plans underway at Nissan

The automaker also plans to expand its battery refurbishing facilities beyond Japan by adding new plants in Europe around 2022 and the United States three years later, which could help to further the circular economy. Nissan’s recent announcements are in line with its vision to be carbon-neutral by 2050, a pledge that includes the lifecycle of its products. Nissan previously created a six-year environmental plan in 2011.

Clearly, these actions show how Nissan, as is the case with other automakers, is placing electrification closer to the center of its long-term business strategy. Historically, Nissan and its luxury division Infiniti’s EV track records have been mixed. Infiniti currently has no electric vehicles in its lineup, but Nissan was early in introducing the all-electric Leaf in late 2010. It quickly became the world’s top-selling EV, and over 500,000 units sold by its tenth anniversary.

When compared to its competitors, the 2022 Leaf is relatively economical, starting at $28,375, but it has a range of only 149 miles. This is lackluster compared to other EVs on the market, including the 2022 Chevy Bolt, which touts a 259-mile range with a starting price of $31,995.

But Nissan is going beyond the Leaf. The automaker is about to release its second all-electric vehicle in early 2022, the Ariya, with a starting price of around $40,000. The longest-range version of this crossover model has an estimated range of 300 miles and should hit the market in early 2022. The Nissan Ariya is offered in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and features ProPilot 2.0, Nissan's semi-autonomous driving system.

The competition and future plans for EVs

As global demand for electric vehicles increases, many legacy automakers are shifting their manufacturing efforts to EVs, and Nissan is not alone in investing billions.

Although Nissan’s recent announcements were certainly good news for the advancement of electrification, its plans for the upcoming this decade is fairly similar to its competitors. What could set Nissan apart this decade is its proprietary ASSB technology, especially if the automaker can quickly and successfully bring these batteries to market.

Image credit of the Ariya via Nissan USA

Sarah Lozanova headshot

Sarah Lozanova is an environmental journalist and copywriter and has worked as a consultant to help large corporations become more sustainable. She is the author of Humane Home: Easy Steps for Sustainable & Green Living, and her renewable energy experience includes residential and commercial solar energy installations. She teaches green business classes to graduate students at Unity College and holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School.

Read more stories by Sarah Lozanova