Nissan Does a 180 on Future Hybrids After Mitsubishi Deal

The Nissan-Renault Alliance has made a 180-degree course correction on its view of future hybrids after taking a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors.

Speaking with British publication Auto Express, Takashi Shirakawa, head of Nissan’s European research and development, confirmed that the Japanese automaker is working on a new plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Shirakawa hinted that the eventual vehicle could share hybrid technology with Mitsubishi’s Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV, a consistent best seller in Europe.

“Our current priority is to shift into EVs for the future, but we still need a bridge. We are now working on a plug-in hybrid solution for Europe” Shirakawa told the magazine.

“We welcomed Mitsubishi Motors into the Nissan family, and they already have the Outlander PHEV. The next-generation product range may be shared with that, but this is just the beginning of the discussion as nothing has been decided yet,” he said.

Since the introduction of the battery-electric Nissan Leaf in December 2010, Carlos Ghosn, the alliance’s CEO, has been adamant that EVs are the green car solution and poo-pooed hybrid vehicles.

SEE ALSO: Nissan Cancels Pathfinder Hybrid and Infiniti QX60 Hybrid

Nissan has dallied with hybrid vehicles and debuted the Gripz concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show with a series hybrid powertrain.

The Outlander’s hybrid wouldn’t be difficult to adapt to Nissan’s European Qashqai SUV, which is similar to the Rogue sold in the U.S., something that Shirakawa did not rule out.

“Most customers are keen to have a smaller EV,” he said.

“We recognize this, and we’re already thinking about how to solve these customer issues with next-generation EV technology.”

Auto Express

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