Nissan has reportedly confirmed plans to put the electric crossover concept it debuted at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, called the Ariya, into production as soon as next year. Better yet, it’ll keep the model’s high-performance all-wheel-drive intact.
The Ariya-derived E-CUV will be sold in the United States as soon as 2021, reports Automotive News, which was present for a demonstration of its twin-motor, all-wheel-drive electric powertrain at the Nissan Advanced Technology Center. Mounted to a modified Nissan Leaf, this drivetrain reportedly featured a pair of 214-horsepower electric motors and a 62-kilowatt-hour battery, similar to those found in the Leaf Plus.
Actual power output allegedly totaled just 309 horsepower (227 kW), though the system's lead engineer Toshiyuki Nakajima reportedly stated that these specifications are unrepresentative of the forthcoming production car. Nakajima allegedly hinted that peak power was limited by the 62-kWh battery's maximum output, and that a larger power pack could allow the electric motors to be used to their full potential.
Though the AWD system was reportedly demonstrated in a Leaf, Nissan told The Drive in March that the current Leaf will at no point get AWD, as its platform was designed around being front-drive only to maximize rear cargo space. E-AWD, then, will presumably be limited to the Ariya-based crossover and future Nissan EVs.
Nissan also reportedly confirmed that it is working on solid-state electrolyte batteries (the holy grail of battery technology) with the goal of having the tech commercially viable within a decade. Battery supply giant Panasonic has pledged similar, but has cautioned that solid-state batteries may be further out than the late 2020s.
This does not mean Nissan has canceled development of internal combustion engines, as Nissan reportedly plans to use small, efficient gas power plants as range extenders in its line of E-Power models. Nissan hopes to achieve 50 percent thermal efficiency from gasoline engines by 2040, up from its current engines' approximate 40 percent efficiency.
A Nissan spokesperson was unable to verify plans to roll out an electric crossover in the U.S. market when reached by The Drive, but said further information on Nissan's high-tech powertrains may be forthcoming. We will update when we receive further information.