Some of the components to be shared are platforms, motors, inverters and batteries.
While Nissan and Renault can provide the technology of two very successful electric cars, the Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe, Mitsubishi made the Outlander PHEV, that as been very successful plug-in hybrid – where it’s available. Ghosn confirmed that Nissan will have plug-in hybrids with the technology already developed by Mitsubishi.
Since Nissan also developed the hybrid Nissan Note e-POWER – already on sale in Japan -, the Alliance can now produce hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric cars.
Carlos Ghosn also recently reaffirmed that the Alliance will rely on an external supplier for the batteries. This is why LG Chem will open its battery cell plant in Europe (Poland) next year.
Also next year, two new generation car models from Nissan will arrive. The Nissan Juke and Nissan Micra. Both car models will share the same CMF-B platform that is prepared for multiple powertrains, such as gas, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all electric.
The Nissan Micra EV will definitely share the powertrain with the similar sized Renault Zoe, but the Nissan Juke EV requires a more powerful motor since it’s bigger and heavier.
Another car that might get multiple powertrains is the super efficient Renault Eolab.
Even if the cars are built on a platform that allows multiple powetrains, it doesn’t mean they have to use them all. At one point the Alliance might decide to build only gas and all electric variants. It isn’t unreasonable, as the battery energy density increases and the kWh cost drops, to go all in with BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) and completely skip the stop-gap technology, AKA hybrids. Yet this won’t happen in 2017, since Nissan just introduced the Note e-POWER, they seem confident in hybrids – at least in Japan.
I think that in 2018, BEVs will start to take over while hybrids start to decline. Remember that the technology that can provide 66 kWh batteries to the Renault Zoe will be available in late 2017. If the Renault Zoe or the Nissan Leaf got 66 kWh batteries and 600 km NEDC range, who would care about hybrid versions?
It’s also in 2018 that Samsung SDI will open its battery cell plant in Europe (Hungary), this means that we’ll see a production increase in BMW BEVs.
To sum up, 2017 will be a great year for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and its battery cell supplier, LG Chem.
What do you think? Which technology should the Alliance prioritize? When should the Alliance go all in with BEVs and drop the hybrids?