The Nissan GT-R, the R35, debuted way back in 2007 and was kept in production until 2024, with incremental improvements that kept it relevant in the face of ever-more talented sports car rivals. Now Nissan has pulled the plug on what is arguably one of the most important performance cars of the last two decades, and the R35 leaves a very big GT-R-shaped hole in the Nissan range and our hearts.

But Nissan must have a plan to keep the GT-R nameplate alive once it ends production of the current model, and there’s a good chance the next iteration of the model will become a battery-electric vehicle. Nissan has been coy about confirming an electric R36 GT-R is in the works, but it has hinted that it could culminate with the unveiling of an almost Cyberpunk-like EV design study that looked like a sharp, angular GT-R from the future.

Electric GT-R Concept

Gallery: Nissan Hyper Force concept

It’s called the Nissan Hyper Force concept, and it was revealed at the 2023 Tokyo Motor Show as “an all-electric high-performance supercar aiming to deliver the ultimate in driving pleasure while also offering high environmental performance and comfort for daily use.”

It screams GT-R from every angle, albeit in a more futuristic racing car-like rendition of the iconic design with massive aero elements and an integrated widebody. Interestingly, even though Nissan knew it was making a concept that looked like a GT-R from the future, it deliberately chose to call it something else and hide its true identity.

Take the concept’s grille badge, which looks like a blurry version of the traditional GT-R logo, with the white font on top and red at the bottom. This same color theme is carried over for the Hyper Force badge, not blurred this time, that adorns the right side of the concept’s trunk lid. The concept’s two driving modes were “GT” and “R,” each promising to deliver a different experience.

Nissan Hyper Force concept

Nissan Hyper Force concept

With this concept, Nissan was hinting that was considering going electric with the R36 GT-R, but without stating it outright. When Autocar asked Nissan program design director Giovanny Arroba, he said “the shapes, proportion and stance aren’t based on pure fantasy. It’s quite daring but a tangible dream to achieve by the end of the decade.”

That sounds a lot like Nissan is planning to launch a production electric GT-R by 2030. Arroba further strengthened the idea that the vehicle is coming when he said “it gives a glimpse of what it could be” and “a manifesto not only for us internally but [also for] how to inspire our company with a tangible dream.”

Plenty Of (Solid State) Power

Nissan Epoch, Epic, Era, Evo concepts

Nissan Epoch, Epic, Era, Evo concepts

Nissan says the Hype Force concept has a combined output from its electric motors of 1,000 kilowatts, which is 1,341 horsepower, or more than double what the gas-burning GT-R makes today. It doesn’t mention how many motors it has, but it’s an all-wheel-drive machine in keeping with the GT-R spirit. This output sounds about right for a future production GT-R EV, if Nissan wants it to be among the quickest sports cars in the world—there are already several EVs in production with over 1,000 hp, and by the time the electric GT-R comes out, they will surely have gotten even more powerful.

Keeping things lightweight was a priority for the concept, even though the only visual evidence appears to be the carbon fiber flake aero covers for the wheels and the massive rear diffuser, which is also made from carbon flake. However, Nissan notes that it features a “light-weight body featuring high-strength carbon” so that it handles as well as you would expect it to given its GT-R lineage.

Solid state battery

Solid state battery

All that effort to make the body and the rest of the car light can be negated if you put a heavy battery pack in it. That’s why Nissan envisions the concept as having a solid-state battery, which is superior to today’s EV batteries in all the ways that matter (energy density, charging performance, extreme temperature performance) while weighing considerably less.

The manufacturer says it has a very advanced solid-state research project, which it hopes will yield a production-ready pack to put in one of the many EVs it plans to launch by 2030. One of the main hurdles for the industrywide adoption of solid-state battery technology has been its price, and even if by 2028 Nissan succeeds in bringing it to market, it will still likely cost more than a conventional lithium-ion pack, unless, of course, a breakthrough occurs in the meantime.

Time Frame For Launch

2024 Nissan GT-R Premium Edition T-Spec

2024 Nissan GT-R Premium Edition T-Spec

It makes sense for the first Nissan solid-state EV to be a special halo model like the next GT-R. That's why the announcement of a production solid-state EV in 2028 might coincide directly with its arrival. Nissan may not want to confirm it yet because it’s probably still unsure whether it will make market-viable solid-state batteries by then.

Back in 2019, Top Gear talked to Philip Klein, a Nissan board member in charge of planning, about the next GT-R, and he said “the driving experience is very high on our priority list. EVs are very fun to drive. And we’re moving our petrol powertrains to electrification with hybrid e-power. In the end we would like the regulations to take nothing away from how fun the car is to drive.”

When pressed to answer more specifically about what will power the car, all he said was that “the regulations bring a lot of concerns, so the question is how to answer these constraints and still offer a car that’s fun to drive. There are different options and we’re working on them. We’re defending the sports car.”

So there is a chance the next GT-R will still burn gasoline. One report from Japan by Best Car Web claimed they had insider information that the next model would be a heavily reworked version of the current model that would feature some form of electrification, most likely turning the car into a mild hybrid. These electric and electrified GT-Rs could still coexist, though, but we’ll have to wait and see what Nissan does over the next few years.

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