Possible Nissan Juke electric on the cards

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Nissan looks to apply its Ariya treatment to a range of models, opening up the possibility for a pure-electric SUV to sit alongside the Juke

Nissan is looking to expand its electric SUV offering – opening up the possibility of a cheaper, more affordable pure-electric car closely aligned to the smaller Juke crossover. Such a model could rival cars like the Hyundai Kona Electric.

The news comes after Nissan revealed its electric Ariya SUV – a ‘coupe crossover’ based on the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s new CMF-EV mechanical platform for electric vehicles. The scalable base can be both lengthened and shortened to support additional models – models like a Juke-sized small electric SUV.

Speaking exclusively with Automotive Daily’s Driving Electric, Nissan Europe’s head of EV, Helen Perry, said: “A platform investment is huge. For sure, there will be usage for the platform for something more than Ariya. We would not have invested in a brand-new Alliance platform unless there was other usage planned.

“Ultimately, you know our line-up today. You know the segments that are evolving,” Perry said. “You can think about where the other big growth areas are – and within our planning we are always looking at the growth areas and where customers want to move to.”

Building on this, Nissan Europe’s EV boss confirmed the Ariya has been designed as a “halo” model for the brand – suggesting it will in time be supported by smaller, less expensive electric cars: “Today [Ariya] is the ultimate offering,” Perry said. “It packs in all the things that we are good at”.

While the Qashqai is Nissan’s strongest-selling SUV by some margin, the Juke has seen huge success in since its launch in 2010. With the Ariya sitting somewhere between the Qashqai and the larger X-Trail in terms of shape and size, Perry’s comments open up the possibility of a smaller Juke-sized electric crossover.

“What is important to [our customers]? Not only in terms of electrification, but also in terms of bodystyle,” Perry said. “Electrification will become the norm and bodystyle will become more relevant, because the choice will be wider.”

In addition to further pure-electric models, Nissan has confirmed it will bring its e-Power hybrid models to Europe later this year. Perry thinks there is room for plug-in hybrid models, too, in order to help customers transition from petrol and diesel through to full-electric.

“There is a journey between ICE, through to a full-electric car,” Perry said. “It’s only right that we support the customer on that journey. Ultimately our mission is zero emissions, so when we say 50% of our line-up will be electrified by 2023, that’s a blended approach.

It’s not clear when any additional electric SUVs might be unveiled, but with Nissan’s commitment to lowering its overall emissions within the next three years, it’s likely such models would feature prominently in helping the maker achieve this goal.

Richard Ingram

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