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Nissan’s ‘Denki Cube’ Electric Vehicle Concept

The 2008 New York International Auto Show sees the world debut of the Nissan Denki (Japanese for “electric”) Cube Concept.

The lithium-ion battery-powered Denki Cube electric vehicle concept serves as a preview of Nissan’s future small car strategy for the North American market.

“The Denki Cube Concept is a fun way to expose American buyers to one of Nissan’s most popular home market cars at a time when fuel economy and packaging efficiency are on a lot of people’s minds,” said Al Castignetti, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Nissan North America, Inc. “Like the production Cube on which it is based, the Denki Cube Concept is boxy yet charming, fashionable and functional, and completely tuned in to today’s needs for enjoyable efficiency.”

In creating the Denki Cube Concept, the designers started with the current-generation Nissan Cube and added a new EV powertrain and unique exterior and interior treatments. The Denki Cube Concept’s exterior features fresh front and rear styling treatments including a new “electric themed” front grille design with an AC power charging port.

Inside, though the production Cube offers three rows of seating, the Denki Cube Concept offers only two rows and the wheelbase has been stretched by over 9 inches in order to better accommodate the lithium-ion battery cells.

The biggest transformation from production Cube to Denki Cube Concept is the replacement of the standard 1.3-litre in-line 4-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and laminated lithium-ion batteries located under the floor and seats. The laminated structure and unique material technology offer more power, energy and battery stability, as well as compact size and packaging flexibility, versus conventional cylindrical batteries.

Nissan’s compact lithium-ion battery technology, one of the company’s traditional strengths, provides batteries with twice as much energy compared with a conventional cylindrical battery of the same type, and safer operation due to the use of chemically stable spine-structured manganese for the electrode material.

“Nissan first had an electric vehicle on the road in 1947 and has been field-testing lithium-ion batteries for more than 10 years,” said Castignetti. “Our ongoing goal is to dramatically enhance future battery performance while reducing battery costs.”

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd’s mid-term environmental action plan, Nissan Green Program 2010 (NGP 2010), is designed to fulfil Nissan’s environmental philosophy of “symbiosis of people, vehicles and nature” and contribute to a sustainable mobile society. NGP 2010 is specifically focused on reducing CO2 emissions both from Nissan products as well as from day-to-day corporate activities.

Nissan is focused on three core areas related to the environment: reducing CO2 emissions; reducing exhaust emissions; and accelerating recycling efforts. Highlights of Nissan Green Program 2010 include:

• Incorporating CO2 reduction as one of the key management performance indicators.

• Launch a “three-litre car” with a target of 2010; a gasoline-fuelled car that runs 100 kilometres on three litres of fuel.

• Expand availability of Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFV) within the next three years.

• Launch a Nissan electric vehicle early in the next decade.

• Develop an original Nissan hybrid vehicle targeted for launch in FY2010.

• Accelerate development of plug-in hybrid technology.

• By 2010, reduce CO2 emissions from global manufacturing plants by 7% (per unit) compared to 2005.