The all-electric Nissan LEAF has always been a beacon of innovation in the car world, ever since its introduction as the world’s first mass-market, 100% electric vehicle in 2010. And Nissan's passion for innovation has spread to its employees, demonstrated by the creation by Nissan engineers of a prototype Nissan LEAF with a 48 kWh battery – in their spare time.
Over at Nissan’s Technical Centre in Barcelona (NTCE-S), a group of engineers working there have demonstrated their passion and commitment to the Nissan cause by forming a Nissan Innovation team to take on a range of exciting endeavours as volunteers, pushing the boundaries of what is possible with electric vehicle technology, resulting in what they have codenamed 'Cocoon'.
Named after the American sci-fi film of the same name, the 48 kWh prototype carries a battery twice the size of the original Nissan LEAF production model, resulting in a 75% increase in driving range in everyday conditions, and was built to compete in the Spanish motorsport event, ECOseries - a new initiative which rewards “efficiency and fuel economy rather than outright speed.”
Dario Fernandez, Senior Engineer at NTCE-S, said: “It has been a great privilege to work on this project and to see our finished prototype race in the ECOseries. We all have a real passion for what we do and being able to work on prototype projects gives us the creative freedom to be as innovative and forward-thinking as we possibly can. Battery range improvement is important to the on-going adoption of electric vehicles, so this was a great opportunity to utilise our knowledge of zero-emissions technology to look at how battery range could potentially be extended in this particular application.”
With the driving range of electric cars an important consideration for customers when it comes to deciding whether to go electric, and with cars such as the BMW i3 94AH highlighting improved range as a selling point, it is an essential part of Nissan's Intelligent Mobility vision that has already produced the e-NV200 pure electric light commercial vehicle and a longer range LEAF with a 30 kWh battery.
Gareth Dunsmore, Director of Electric Vehicles at Nissan Europe, said: "As a pioneer of the electric vehicle market, Nissan has consistently innovated and advanced its technology to remain at the forefront of the zero emission sector. Whilst there are no plans to put this prototype into production, it serves as a useful exercise in thinking outside the box, something our engineers and designers do on a daily basis. The Nissan LEAF 48 kWh showcases the passion our employees have for their work.”
Nissan should not only be applauded for their commitment to the cause when it comes to the advancement of the electric revolution, but for also providing the tools to allow their employees to draw on their expertise, skills and experience to experiment with technology, design and engineering, with these extra-curricular projects feeding in to Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility vision of developing a smart, connected, sustainable zero emission transport network.