In July 2021, Nissan announced ‘EV36Zero’, a new GBP 1 billion (around EUR 1.19 billion) flagship EV Hub centered around the Sunderland (UK) plant. The company allocated a new EV to this factory as part of the transformational project and released a teaser of its vision. On November 29, 2021, the company revealed this concept car as the Nissan Chill-Out.
Design & Features
The Nissan Chill-Out concept is an SUV-coupe that is lower and flatter than the Ariya. Think of it as Nissan’s take on Renault’s Arkana, with more dramatic proportions and high-tech design elements, and, of course, combined in an eco-friendly zero-emission package.
The new Nissan EV concept features center-pillarless coach doors that offer a grand entrance to reveal a lounge-style interior that is high on style and packs plenty of passenger space. Nissan designers have imagined the concept with a Level 5 autonomous driving capability.
There’s a floating ultra-wide display and a super-slim horizontal dashboard. During autonomous driving, the steering retracts into the dashboard which becomes a leg-rest for the front occupants.
Here is how Ashwani Gupta, COO, Nissan, describes the Nissan Chill-Out concept:
Expressing its breath-taking acceleration and feeling of control, this new-generation EV represents the shape of things to come: sleek design, energizing driving, advanced safety technologies, and a productive and comfortable interior space.Ashwani Gupta, COO, Nissan (Nissan Ambition 2030 strategy announcement on November 29, 2021)
Apart from a highly digital cockpit, the upcoming Nissan EV’s tech highlights could include V2X and ProPILOT. Nissan has experimented with V2X technologies for a decade now. “As early as 2011, Nissan launched V2X and created a distributable energy model where EVs act as a mobile energy storage,” Gupta said during the Nissan Ambition 2030 strategy announcement on November 29, 2021. Further, he talked about commercializing V2X:
We are confidently moving towards the commercialization phase, targeting the mid-2020s. We aim to expand V2X services and also establish battery recycling facilities in Europe and the United States.Ashwani Gupta, COO, Nissan (Nissan Ambition 2030 strategy announcement on November 29, 2021)
Nissan’s next-gen ProPILOT technology may include a LiDAR scanner, and the company could offer it in the pure electric SUV-coupe. CEO Makoto Uchida said during the Nissan Ambition 2030 strategy announcement that the company “aim(s) to complete the development of this technology by the mid-2020s, with the goal of incorporating into most new models by 2030.”
Nissan Leaf successor
According to a report on Autocar UK, Guillaume Cartier, Chairperson – AMIEO of Nissan, has indicated that the upcoming electric SUV-coupe will be the Nissan Leaf successor. One of the world’s best-selling electric cars, which was also at the forefront of the EV revolution along with the Renault Zoe, will get the ax at the end of the second generation. Cartier also confirmed that the company will discontinue the ICE Micra and launch an EV instead, which could mean that Nissan isn’t done with electric hatchbacks yet.
Platform & Specifications
Nissan is developing the Chill-Out concept’s production version on the alliance platform that debuted in the Ariya – CMF-EV. The CMF-EV platform is more capable than what’s Nissan has so far announced for models. In C and D segment vehicles, this platform allows a range of up to 580 km (360 miles) as per WLTP. In addition to an anxiety-free range, benefits include great roominess because of a large wheelbase and a flat floor.
Given that the SUV-Coupe is the successor to the Leaf, the vehicle should have low-spec, economic configurations costing around EUR 30,000. It could be technically closer to Renault’s Megane E-Tech Electric than Nissan’s Ariya. It could also have an Android Automotive OS-based infotainment system with built-in Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Google Play like the new French EV. In other words, the similarities might not be limited to the hardware.
During the presentation of the concept, Nissan indicated that it could offer the Chill-Out concept-derived SUV-coupe in a standard-range variant and a long-range variant. The former could have a 63 kWh battery pack that provides a range of up to 360 km (224 miles) and the latter an 87 kWh battery pack that provides a range of over 500 km (311 miles). Do note that these range figures are pending homologation.
The Ariya supports fast-charging at 130 kW, but given that the SUV-coupe is a few years away, we reckon something around 200 kW charging capacity could be an internal target.
The batteries of the new Nissan EV may come from the gigafactory Envision AESC plans to construct in Sunderland, UK, in 2024. This battery plant will have an annual production capacity of 11 GWh, but that figure will increase to 38 GWh at a later stage, as per a report on ft.com (via electrive.com). Officially, though as of November 29, 2021, the plan is to have a 9 GWh capacity initially and a potential capacity of 35 GWh.
Nissan’s investment in the UK
Nissan says that it will invest up to GBP 423 million (approx. EUR 501 million) to produce the crossover previewed by the Chill-Out concept at the Sunderland plant where it currently makes the Leaf, Juke, and Qashqai. The company is forecasting an annual production capacity of up to 100,000 units for the new electric SUV coupe. It doesn’t talk about other production locations, but if this is indeed a Leaf replacement, we see no reason why the company’s plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, wouldn’t make it for the U.S. and Canada.
Autocar expects the Nissan Leaf’s successor to be launched around 2025.
Nissan EV teased
Perhaps Nissan has a different model plan for the U.S. market for the segment below the Ariya. The company offered a glimpse of the mysterious EV in a video of the Ariya on its YouTube channel for the U.S. market, which could be a derivative of the British-made e-SUV.
The company is showing it with a marker light right, and the mystery model has slanted angular headlamps with a C-shaped signature light on the edges, and the headlamps connect to what seems to be a hexagonal grille.
Nissan plans to speed up electrification with an investment of JPY 2 trillion over the next five years. It will launch 23 new electrified models, 15 of which will be EVs. The company aims to have a line-up in which half of the models are electrified vehicles by FY2030. It wants electrified vehicles to start accounting for 40% of its sales in the U.S. by FY2030.
On the battery front, Nissan will work on even improving the existing lithium-ion technology and introduce cobalt-free technology to reduce the cost by 65% by FY2028. It aims to launch EV with solid-state batteries and bring the cost of battery packs down to USD 75/kWh by FY2028. Further into the future, the company aims to make EVs as affordable as gasoline vehicles by reducing the cost of battery packs to USD 65/kWh.
Featured Image Source: Nissan