Nissan’s Ambition 2030 promises 15 EVs, solid state batteries in 2028

Published: 29 November 2021

► Nissan’s wide-reaching EV plans explained
► £13bn investment, four new concepts revealed
► Plus plans to introduce solid state batteries in 2028

Nissan’s going to town on electrification, with the latest ‘Ambition 2030’ vision setting in motion a huge investment into the company’s electric future.

During the Ambition 2030 event, Nissan unveiled four new concepts cars – one of which is described as a ‘near-future EV’, and three more that open up Nissan into wild and interesting new places. As well as these concepts, Nissan announced it would be spending two trillion yen (around £13bn at the time of writing) on rolling out a number of new EVs and electrified models, as well as introducing its first solid state battery in 2028.

nissan 2030 concepts

Nissan says it’s acceleration electrification with this new plan, introducing 23 new electrified models – 15 of them pure-electric. Under this initiative, it aims for electrified sales in Europe to clock in at around 75 per cent, Japan at 55 per cent and China at 40 per cent by 2026. It expects the US to be 40 per cent electrified by 2030.

Read on for more details of Nissan’s latest electrification plans.

What are Nissan’s current electric cars?

As it stands, there’s the Leaf hatchback and upcoming Ariya crossover. Nissan has also announced another EV, which we expect to be the Leaf’s replacement.

The Leaf was originally a pioneer as an EV in its first generation that arrived in 2011, with the second-generation opening up the possibility of EV ownership to a larger crowd with its more competitive pricing and larger range possibilities.

Even so, the Leaf has since lagged behind the competition in recent years, as the pace of change in the electric car industry has sped up exponentially. What was once a true EV contender is now an also-ran in the face of competition from so many more mainstream car makers, with its mediocre range and usability compromises now compared unfavourably to the likes of VW’s ID.3, Tesla’s Model 3 and Polestar 2. So, Nissan is stepping up its efforts.

nissan ariya

The first new EV from the brand is the much-mooted Ariya. It’s a large crossover SUV designed to take on the VW ID.4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E among other rivals, arriving at the end of 2021 with two battery sizes and an all-new electric platform shared with Renault and Mitsubishi. The CMF-EV platform under the Ariya can be specced with two battery sizes – 68 and 87kWh – with the option of rear- or all-wheel drive and a maximum range of 310 miles from the thriftiest of the versions coming.

Nissan is promising plenty of performance from the platform, too, with the most powerful dual-motor version serving up 389bhp and 442ft/lbs of torque. The system will be fitted with a torque management system called e-4ORCE, which can control the amount of power delivered between the front and rear axles.

It can’t vector the torque across each axle, like the more sophisticated electric powertrains found in the likes of the Porsche Taycan and the Tesla Model S. However, Nissan says the Ariya’s system will use the brakes to manage the torque at each corner to improve its handling. Performance-oriented technology like this is particularly important when you learn about one of the EV concepts Nissan has been working on – but more on that later.

There is also, of course, the latest Qashqai. It’s not a battery-electric vehicle, but a range-extender version is coming very soon under the brand’s new e-Power banner. There is an engine, but it does not drive the wheels; instead it charges the battery, effectively meaning the Qashqai e-Power drives like an electric car without the need for a plug.

What about these new concept cars?

At the Ambition 2030 event, Nissan revealed four new EV concepts: Chill-Out, Max-Out, Surf-Out and Hang-Out.

nissan chill out concept

The first one – Chill Out – is what Nissan calls a ‘near-future EV’; a thinly-veiled hint that this could be the next-generation Nissan Leaf. The brand says the Chill Out runs on CMF-EV – the same platform as the Ariya, as well as the new Renault Megane E-Tech Electric. While performance specs aren’t known, Nissan says the concept car has the brand’s electric all-wheel drive system (named E-4orce), ‘advanced safety technology and a productive, comfortable interior space.’

nissan max out

This is the performance-oriented concept we were referring to above. The Max-Out (above) gives us a glimpse at how a low-slung, convertible EV sports car from Nissan could look once the company has moved into the electric era. It’s likely to be powered by the company’s 389bhp dual-motor electric powertrain.

Nissan Surf-Out concept

The Surf-Out is an off-road-ready two-door pickup that Nissan says has external outlets that can be used to power tools and electrical applicances, like Hyundai Motor Group’s V2L technology. It also has a transparent front grille and an unusual light bar mounted on the tailgate that can display emojis to following traffic.

nissan hang out

And, finally, there’s the Hang-Out – which kind of looks like a thoroughly modernised Renault 4 to our eye (do remember, the French brand is revitalising the Renault 4 as an EV). Nissan says this is designed to make us rethink how a car interior should be like within a relatively small footprint.

Solid state batteries, you say?

Yes. The aim is to reduce the reliance on rare earths in its batteries over the next decade. Nissan says it wants the brand to ‘continue to evolve lithium-ion battery technologies’, as well as use cobalt-free chemistry to lower the cost of batteries by 65 per cent by 2028.

nissan battery illustration

Also in that year, Nissan aims to launch an EV with a solid-state battery, too. It says it’s working on a plant to manufacture solid state cells that’ll be up and running by 2024. By doing this, Nissan says BEVs will drop in cost to that of a combustion-engined car by the end of the decade.

Any other investments of note?

Well, in July 2021, Nissan announced a new £1bn hub based at the brand’s Sunderland plant that includes the building of a new battery Gigafactory, a new line for this new Nissan EV based on the Chill Out concept car, and a renewable ‘microgrid’ for the entire Sunderland site. The plans also include methods to reuse EV batteries as energy storage at the facility.

nissan ev36zero

Nissan says the interconnected project will create 6200 jobs for Nissan, including 909 new roles at the Sunderland plant to manufacture the new EV. The decision to manufacture the new vehicle at the North East England plant takes up around £423m of the £1bn investment.

The new gigafactory builds on Envision AESC’s battery plant established in 2012 in Sunderland, that already manufactures batteries for the Leaf and e-NV200.

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches