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GM, Nissan map out their electric-power futures

GM to launch 20 new EVs by 2023; Nissan to provide free power to owners

Published: October 2, 2017, 9:55 PM
Updated: October 7, 2017, 6:13 AM

Chevrolet Bolt with GM new EVs under wraps

Chevrolet Bolt Concept charge port

Two companies on separate sides of the Atlantic are rolling out their plans for their electric futures — Nissan is rolling out a new Leaf and NV200, while General Motors is planning on introducing two new electric vehicles in the next 18 months.

“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Although that future won't happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers' needs.”

The two new vehicles will be just the start of a product offensive that will see at least 20 new electric vehicles (either battery supplied or hydrogen fueled, to give customers better choice according to their needs) in the coming five years. For commercial needs, GM introduced the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) — an emissions-free 2-motor, 4-wheel steered, fuel cell concept heavy duty truck — to serve as delivery vehicle or even emergency responders.

Nissan Leaf

Meanwhile, across the pond, Nissan is committing to expand Europe’s charging infrastructure by 20% with 1,000 new fast-charger installations (to 5,600 units) over the next 18 months, offering up new private charging solutions with 7-kW double speed chargers for the home and 22-kW chargers for businesses, and a plan to give customers free power using Nissan’s bi-directional charging technology.

“Nissan kick-started the electric vehicle revolution almost a decade ago. In that time, we’ve sold more EV’s than any other manufacturer on the planet,” Paul Willcox, Chairman of Nissan Europe, told attendees at the Nissan Futures 3.0 event in Oslo. “Now, we’re outlining our plans for the next decade, which will see even bigger investments in infrastructure, new battery advances and will even change the way people access and pay for the power in their cars.”

Nissan e-NV200

The event saw the European debut of the new Nissan Leaf, capable of travelling 378 km on a single charge, and the e-NV200 commercial van, now with a 280-km range (100 km farther than before) without an increase in size or weight.

The new home 7-kW home double-speed chargers help EV owners achieve a full charge in about 5.5 hours (a 70% improvement in charging time), while the 22-kW charger for businesses performs the same task in just two hours. It is also available to home users.

Nissan also unveiled a new home energy-storage system, which allows EV owners to plug their vehicles into a self-sustaining unit. Available in early 2018, the unit can generate electricity from solar panels, which can then be used to charge their vehicles outside of their home electrical supply. Nissan expects to sell 100,000 home energy units in Europe by the of fiscal-year 2020.

Nissan xStorage home charger

The other big announcement concerns Nissan’s bi-directional charging system, which allows customers to draw electricity from the grid to power their EVs and then to sell back to the grid when their vehicles are plugged in and fully charged. In testing for the past year in Denmark, the system allows EV customers to run their vehicles virtually free, or at reduced costs (and in low-usage cases, to even turn a profit). Nissan has lined up a UK partner and is exploring other markets in Europe.

“Over the coming decades through our Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision, the electric ecosystem will transform modern life as we know it,” said Wilcox. “With fewer emissions, our cities and air will be cleaner. With more intelligent safety features, car accidents would be reduced dramatically. With better connections between vehicles and their surroundings, the school run or daily commute will no longer be clogged with traffic. And by letting people charge their vehicle and their home from each other, we can use our time and energy supplies more efficiently than ever.

“Step by step we are removing any barriers to electric vehicle adoption – from infrastructure investment, to how people access the power itself,” he concluded.