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Nissan is preparing to tap into Mitsubishi Motor Corporation’s (MMC) expertise in plug-in hybrid vehicles to greatly speed up the development of its own PHEV fleet.

Long a leader in pure electric vehicles with the Leaf, Nissan’s lack of penetration in PHEV technology has been notable. But after last week signalling its intent to buy a controlling 34 per cent stake in MMC, says it now has the map to a shortcut.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is one of the world’s top-selling plug-in hybrids. PHEVs, which have an internal combustion engine supplementing or complementing an externally charged motor, remove ‘range anxiety’ and drop fleet-wide emissions averages.

“I would say there are some pieces of technology MMC has and Renault/Nissan does not have, for example PHEV, that Nissan was about to develop,” Nissan chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn told Australian media last week.

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[This] will help Nissan get this immediately. It will also give Mitsubishi bigger scale to allow it to reduce the cost of PHEV. It’s more about sharing and benefiting from a larger scale.”

Ghosn also told CarAdvice that he intended to leverage the partial MMC takeover — in the Memorandum of Understanding phase with due diligence to follow — to cut the cost of pure EV development through joint research, and greater scale at inventory level.

You can expect to see Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi EVs and PHEVs sharing common core platforms and technologies beneath different designs and body types.

“Without any doubt we will be working together on future EVs, meaning motors and platforms for next-generation cars will be done in common,” Ghosn said, adding that there was “no reason” to duplicate some things.

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“Do not expect cars to be lookalikes, the design and specification will be different, but core technology choices will be common.

“In product development there are two parts. Technology development and product development. Product development is specific to each brand. But technology development will become more and more common.”

As we reported last week, Nissan also intends for the next Navara and Triton ute models to share a basic platform, in another bid to cut costs through expanded scale.




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