Renault-Nissan and Mitsubishi announce electric car venture

The manufacturers signed a letter of intent last month to share technologies relating to electric vehicles

(Pic: Renault)

(Pic: Renault)

By Nilima Choudhury

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Mitsubishi Motors have announced a joint venture to explore new projects including electric vehicles. 

The manufacturers have agreed to share technologies and product assets relating to low carbon emissions emitting cars.

Nissan and Mitsubishi already have an existing joint venture company called NMKV which was established in June 2011.

NMKV is expected to develop a new small car, including a specific electric version that can be sold globally. The basis for this product will be from a jointly-developed ‘Kei car’ platform of the type popular in the Japanese domestic market.

Osamu Masuko, president of Mitsubishi said: “As a result of the development of collaborative projects with Nissan Motor up to now, Mitsubishi Motors is pleased to work again with Nissan and now Renault towards achieving further collaborations.

“The new opportunities could be described as evidence that the ongoing collaborative projects between Mitsubishi Motors and Nissan have brought positive results and Mitsubishi Motors hopes that any new collaborative projects with the Renault-Nissan Alliance would bring us further merits.”

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Mitsubishi are expected to launch two new sedan models under the Mitsubishi brand based on vehicles from the Renault portfolio, although full details are yet to be released.

Renault told RTCC that “by utilising existing assets, we will all minimise investment and lead time.”

Hybrid and plug-in electric vehicle markets are expected to continue growing from now through to 2020 with each achieving 4% and 3% growth respectively.

Navigant Research has forecast that the plug-in electric vehicle market will grow rapidly in many regions as a result of rising fuel prices. It expects three million vehicles to be sold by 2020, predominantly in Japan.

“Electric vehicles, including plug-in models, are becoming an increasingly important part of the global automotive market,” said Dave Hurst, principal research analyst at Navigant.

“This growth is being driven not by the inherent appeal of the vehicles, but also by consumer demand for vehicles that cost less to operate than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles, government incentives and a rebounding economic climate.”

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