Nissan, like other brands, sees no reason why performance vehicles cannot exist in the electrification era. Thus, it will adapt its NISMO brand to make high-performance variants of its EVs.
Speaking to Top Gear, the brand’s European chief, Guillaume Cartier, said that the high-performance NISMO subbrand will be handed EVs with which to ply its trade.
“Nismo is an asset that we have,” said Cartier, “and that’s something we want to revitalize. And will we have some, let’s say, cars with the derivative Nismo? The answer is yes.”
The term “revitalize” is perhaps surprising in this context but, to be sure, as the world focuses increasingly on electric vehicles, performance brands will have to toe the line or risk running out of cars to work on. Brands like BMW’s M division, Mercedes-AMG, Audi Sport and others are all working on electric vehicles, after all.
Nissan’s more direct competitors are also introducing performance models, like Volkswagen with the GTX models. What is sold as an ID.4 GTX in Europe, though, is simply sold as the AWD ID.4 in North America, and Nissan wants to be careful to make performance models that actually offer high performance.
“The point is, it’s not a gimmick,” said Cartier. “To use an English expression, it’s not lipstick on a pig. So that requires some investment to make sure that you bring performance.”
Fortunately, according to Cartier, the high-performance recipe is like cacio e pepe. Although it’s not easy to get right, the ingredients are simple enough.
What NISMO will do is “relatively easy to understand: specific suspension and powertrain,” he said. “The point on Ariya, it’s a challenge because already we have a big battery with high performance. So we need to go higher than that.”
The specifics of which cars will get the NISMO treatment are not clear, but Cartier insinuated that nothing is off the table. For instance, it has already made a high-performance version of the LEAF, though that is not intended to be a production road car. If the Juke NISMO is proof of anything, though, it’s that the automaker is willing to have fun.