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Nissan Could Offer Nismo-Tuned Performance EVs in Future

Nissan's performance arm will likely have a role to play in the company's electric future.

Nissan was one of the first movers in the shift to EVs, launching the Leaf way back in 2011. The company has big plans, too, and hopes to launch 15 new EVs this very decade. Now, word out of Japan is that Nismo could have a role to play, badging the company’s electric performance models, reports Top Gear.

Guillaume Cartier, Nissan’s chairman of Europe, spoke to Top Gear at the 2022 Monaco E-Prix. The company head noted that Nissan is contemplating which of its future EVs would be most deserving of a Nismo model. “Nismo is an asset that we have, and that’s something we want to revitalize” Cartier told Top Gear, adding and will we have some, let’s say, cars with the derivative Nismo? The answer is yes.”

Historically, Nismo has delivered fettled, higher-performance versions of all the major Nissan sports cars, from the 370Z to the GT-R. The performance division has also cast an eye over Nissan’s economy models, too, producing vehicles like the Nismo-fettled Juke and Sentra of years past.

Nismo has already dipped its toe in the water when it comes to performance EVs. 2018 saw the company reveal the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC concept, complete with dual motors, AWD, and 322 HP. With a carbon-fiber monocoque and a stripped-out design, the electric racer weighed 2690 lbs and was good for a 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds. It serves as solid proof that Nismo can handle building a hot EV if necessary.

Nissan doesn’t want to just trot out the Nismo name for a sticker pack and a higher retail price. “The point is, it’s not a gimmick,” says Cartier, adding that it “requires some investment to make sure that you bring performance.”

There are no firm ideas around which Nissan EVs could get the treatment, but Cartier expanded on the general idea of a Nismo EV. “Here it’s relatively easy to understand: specific suspension and powertrain.” Giving an example, he uses the company’s new electric SUV, the Nissan Ariya. “The point on Ariya, it’s a challenge because already we have a big battery with high performance. So we need to go higher than that.”

Nissan has been serious about electrification longer than most of its rivals, even if its first-mover status didn’t help it capture the market in perhaps the way it had hoped. While the company is still facing some headaches as it builds its EV lineup, it’s clear that electric vehicles are going to be the way of the future for the Japanese automaker. It’s only natural for the Nismo brand to make an appearance as performance models join its growing stable.

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