Is Nissan developing e-Power for the Navara and Terra?

The Nissan Kicks e-Power, well, kicked off last year and since its introduction, we can say that the model has been successful so far, getting a warm reception from Filipino customers. The fact that it’s a rather new technology and something that isn’t offered by other automakers seems to have fared well for the Japanese marque.

We’ve discussed the Nissan Kicks e-Power before but for the uninitiated, it’s essentially a series hybrid vehicle that runs completely on electric power. However, the Kicks comes with an internal combustion engine that works exclusively as a charger. Think of it as a portable generator that has been completely decoupled from the axles.

In short, the Kicks e-Power drives like an EV but without the dreaded range anxiety that usually comes with the vehicle type. Nissan sees this as a perfect transitionary model before full-fledged EVs, and I highly concur.

But why am I talking about the Kicks e-Power? As much as the success of the electrified model in the past several months was evident, the Navara and the Terra, Nissan’s pickup platform vehicles (PPVs), are still the automaker’s main volume drivers in the Philippines.

That said, I asked Ivan Espinosa if there’s any plan to develop or offer e-Power for both pickup platform vehicles (PPVs) during a Q&A session. Espinosa is Nissan Motor Corporation’s senior vice president who handles global product planning and program management, who visited the country recently and met with the members of the motoring press.

Espinosa’s response was promising:

“We were chatting about this yesterday, actually, and it’s a good question that you raised. And I think part of it, what we were discussing, is one of the reasons why the pickups and PPV SUVs are so popular is because of the excellent tax benefit that they have. Now, if the incentives start moving to electrified vehicles – whether it’s an e-Power or an EV – we wonder whether the customer will still buy a pickup or they will go and buy an X-Trail, for example, because many of these cars are used for family purposes, right?

“So with this in mind, what we are thinking is to keep watching, keep, again, delivering new performance on the Kicks, start thinking about other future cars, and watch, wait, and see.

“One of the things, also, technically, is that e-Power is not the best solution for towing. It’s very good for cargo loading, the same as an EV. But when it comes to towing, it’s not the best… yet. We’re working on that. For now, this is one of the reasons why on the pickup and midsize SUV, we are really more on the ‘watching.’ Looking at, again, the evolution of Kicks and what comes after, we keep doing a good job of positioning the technology, and probably more in the years to come. And in that moment, we will see how far we go with pickups. Whether we do an e-Power or we do an EV, or there are several solutions that we can do.”

It seems that Nissan is watching the market closely, and that includes every aspect of product offering including business viability. This is an important consideration, as the company wants to ensure that they are meeting the needs of their customers while also staying competitive in the market.
But obviously, the global trend is headed towards electrification, so it’s safe to say that the Navara and Terra will either be electrified in the next decade (in one form or another) or removed from the lineup if a solution to the mentioned technical challenges won’t be found.

I sure do hope it’s the former.

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