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There's hope for exciting electric Nissans, says senior VP

According to Nissan Senior Vice President Shiro Nakamura, the company has a modular platform currently under development that could underpin a model range featuring both electric and fossil-fuel powertrains. In an interview with Auto Express, Nakamura says Nissan sees more possibilities in electric vehicles than just the Leaf hatchback, and that there could be a sports car or a crossover in the portfolio.

Nissan has explored this idea in concept form already, specifically with the Esflow concept from the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, which combined familiar Z-car styling themes with those of the then-new Leaf. The basics of the puzzle were already in place in the Esflow, a small rear-drive coupe that borrowed heavily from the Leaf. The powertrain was admittedly low-key, producing a meager 107 horsepower, but thanks to low weight and a healthy amount of torque it had a theoretical 0-to-62-mph time of five seconds.

Still, last year the edgier IDx concept was reported to not make it into production despite earlier encouraging news. Small sports cars are often unprofitable halo vehicles, so justifying the investment would be easier if the car sits on a flexible platform. The new modular structure would give fans of the 510-resembling coupe concept some new hope.

Nakamura notes that the specifics of the new platform haven't been finalized. For instance, the location of the batteries is still being debated. The Leaf's underfloor packaging would work for an electric crossover, where height isn't an issue, but it wouldn't be ideal for a low-slung sports car. Nakamura says it would be about five years before vehicles on this new platform show up.


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