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James Wright, managing director Nissan Motor (GB)

Years ago, the powers at Nissan made a commitment to address key issues that would have known impacts on the global community: a population shift towards urbanisation, a need to improve air quality, and access to a stable and sustainable energy supply

James Wright, managing director Nissan Motor (GB)

Here at Nissan, we often have to consider the long-term picture – up to a hundred years into the future – not for just our company but for the transport sector in general.


Predicting the future isn’t easy though. A number of respected innovators have famously got it wrong, or simply underestimated the impact their technology would go on to have. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, was famously quoted as saying, “I truly believe that one day, there will be a telephone in every town in America.”


So, rather than trying to guess what the future will bring, at Nissan we’re helping to shape it through innovation. Years ago, we made a commitment to addressing key issues that would have known impacts on the global community – a population shift towards urbanisation, a need to improve air quality and access to a stable, and sustainable, energy supply.


Today, those issues are being addressed under our vision of ‘Nissan Intelligent Mobility’, a framework and long-term strategy supported by significant R&D investments pursuing three main areas of innovation which are as follows:


Intelligent Driving, which focuses on the introduction of autonomous vehicle technologies to not only remove the stresses from daily commutes but also to reduce urban traffic and improve safety for both drivers and other city users.


Nissan is a leader in this area with today’s drivers already able to rely on their car to recognise danger or take appropriate action to enhance safety. We will advance this leadership, ultimately into fully-autonomous drive technologies, accessible to all customers on core models in the range. The first phase of this being Piloted Drive, available on Qashqai in Europe from 2017.


Intelligent Power will focus on improving the efficiency and performance of our electric vehicle drivetrains – spearheaded by the Nissan LEAF – with the ultimate aim of offering a driving range comparable to conventional fuel-powered vehicles. As the industry leader in promoting the development and adoption of EVs in global markets, we believe we can do more with battery electric to encourage the mass adoption of this zero-emission, socially-beneficial drivetrain.


This brings us neatly to Intelligent Integration, which will establish new links between vehicles and society. We want to connect cars to social infrastructures such as road, information and electric power networks. This will lead to reduced traffic jams, more efficient car sharing, remote vehicle operation and improved energy management.


We’re currently trialling an innovative vehicle-to-grid system in Europe and soon the UK, which, when coupled with advances in second-life battery systems, will allow electric vehicles to operate as individual ‘energy hubs’ able to store, use or return clean energy to the grid. Not only might consumers earn revenue from the charge left in their vehicle’s batteries, but through intelligent grid integration, connected electric vehicles can help to stabilise a country’s energy requirements through the peak periods of a daily power cycle.


Our ongoing partnership with Foster + Partners presents a working vision of this electric vehicle connectivity. Incorporating a range of pioneering Nissan technologies, the project shows how vehicle-to-grid, battery storage, wireless charging, autonomous drive technology and over-the-air connectivity could combine to revolutionise how energy is used and distributed in our urban environments.

Now whilst this all might sound like the city of tomorrow, many of these technologies are available today. At Nissan, we’re applying them to turn these visions into reality.

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