Nissan’s Future Lab Searches For New EV Ownership Models
Nissan is searching for new vehicle ownership models, and to also map future transportation needs through its Future Lab Experiments (which we thinks sounds more like an attraction at Disney’s Epcot theme park).
The Japanese company is trying to find new products for commercialization using “Living Labs” – or real-world experiments and trials if you will.
One of the projects is using the New Mobility Concept (aka Renault Twizy) in Scoot Quad car sharing in San Francisco (check review here).
With GM focused on the Chevrolet Bolt EV car sharing and autonomous driving capabilities, and Tesla recently announcing its second master plan, Nissan (and others) are almost forced to find their own way to combine electric vehicles, car sharing and autonomous driving.
“The difference between traditional research methods and Nissan’s “Living Labs” is the research relies on networking with external partners – like San Francisco-based Scoot Networks – to uncover opportunities and learn through observing user behaviors.
Inspired by rapid developments in electric and autonomous technology as well as ride sharing trends, Nissan’s “Living Labs” focus on vehicle ownership structures, the changing marketplace for vehicle technology and new uses for electric vehicles.”
Rachel Nguyen, executive director, Nissan Future Lab said:
“Working within the living lab framework allows Nissan to experiment out in the marketplace. By combining our hardware with outside software, services and systems into collaborative beta tests, Nissan has the opportunity to develop new products and service offerings that fit in the new mobility economy.”
Nissan Future Lab topics:
“Vehicle ownership structures. With the fast-paced growth of smart technologies and the emergence of the sharing economy, Nissan Future Lab is studying different sized and packaged vehicle solutions. Last October, Nissan launched its first “Living Lab” with Scoot Networks to bring 10 Nissan New Mobility Concept Vehicles (NNMC) to Scoot’s fleet in San Francisco. The electric-powered “micromobility” vehicles fit between a small motorcycle and a full-size vehicle and are available for rental using the Scoot app sharing platform. Through the pilot, Nissan is gathering data on city dwellers mobility choices for short distance trips, and the role electric vehicles play as shared transportation options.
The changing vehicle technology marketplace. The sharing economy also presents new opportunities to leverage vehicle technology. Studying the emerging mobility markets and understanding new business needs – like redistributing shared vehicles to their points of origin – can lead to new applications for still-developing vehicle technologies. The Scoot “Living Lab” is also providing data on vehicle distribution to help Nissan better understand the distance traveled from the origin, popular origin points and other user behaviors.
New uses for electric vehicles. Nissan is also actively studying the expanded use of electric vehicles including vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. Since 2014, Nissan has participated in a large V2G pilot program with the U.S. Air Force. A fleet of modified Nissan LEAF electric vehicles discharge power back into the gird through a series of bi-directional charging stations. The exchange is used to balance the overall load by absorbing excess power, then putting it back into the grid during times of high demand.”