Nissan’s Future Lab Searches For New EV Ownership Models

OCT 1 2016 BY MARK KANE 8

The Nissan New Mobility Concept, also known as a Scoot Quad

The Nissan New Mobility Concept, also known as a Scoot Quad

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.”

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8 Comments on "Nissan’s Future Lab Searches For New EV Ownership Models"

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Tittle should be “Nissan has Lost EV Focus” …

The Twizzy has been in production for a number of years. It is a small niche market vehicle. A single project demonstration in one N.America city means little in the larger N.America auto market place.

Mean while Renault has moved on from the Twizzy and has introduced an updated Zoé with over 200 miles range. (41 kWh battery capacity) And … customers can already place deposits for 2017 delivery.

What updates has Nissan introduced lately to its EV lineup. We still have yet to learn details of the 2017 model year LEAF. 🙁

The silence from Nissan on its upcoming EVs is deafening!

Do you really think Renault-Nissan planned the new Zoe for 2017 while the Leaf would remain unchanged..?

I don’t. Here’s what I think: Sometime before the Ampera-e comes to market in Europe we will know about a new Leaf. I still think it will be announced this year and be in sale from January, but that’s just because it seems like the sensible thing to do from where I sit – with very incomplete information.

The next Leaf will at a minimum match the new Zoe, and perhaps place itself between the Zoe and Ampera-e. Or perhaps it’ll turn out to be the second generation Leaf and not a facelift, in which case it’ll probably match or surpass the Ampera-e.

North America isn’t a good market for the Leaf. Even as the longest-range affordable EV, which it has been most of the time since it’s launch, it has struggled over there. Europe is much more important.

China is more important still, but the Leaf isn’t the right product. Nissan needs a much cheaper car for China (and India) and has been candid about that being their first priority.

Bring out the Leaf 2.0 already.

100% content-free and buzzwords… Shame on you, Nissan.
WTF is “new ownership model” supposed to mean??

Car sharing, self driving cars and/or über. The car companies are being forced to look at new models because millennials don’t have enough money to buy a new car. The problem is you can’t polish a turd, less money is less money however you cut it.

Millenials have much more money than young people had ten years ago or any time before. But they are much less interested in owning a car. Especially outside the US where you can get by pretty well without one when you’re a young childless healthy person who can deal with the slightly more stressful transportation modes.

Car sharing makes economic and environmental sense. The average car is parked some 95% of the time, and then it is literally just in the way. If utilization can get to 20% by sharing and sharing becomes the norm we can achieve many wonderful things at once:

– lower cost of having access to a vehicle
– ability to use different vehicles for different purposes
– solve parking problems
– less queues
– less emissions
– profitable also for the car sharing company

That’s not peanuts.

Real car sharing doesn’t work, unless you mean taxis.

The 95% figure is meaningless, because most people need them exactly the same time (commuting to work or long weekend trips).
Also, most people use their cars as a house extension, with their property, children safety seats, gym bags etc. in the car all the time.

Ride sharing to work of personal doesn’t work for many reasons I’ll be happy to get into if asked.

The real improvement would be:
1) Significantly increased real mass-transit, unlikely in most of the US for the foreseeable future;
2) Get rid of the second & third cars many US households have (currently there are 1.1 cars per person with a license in the US), and replace them with bicycles, e-bicycles, scooters etc.

Millenials have student debt and are working low paying jobs. Show me the link that proves they have LOTS of money.