The future's electric, and Nissan's going to be part of it. On Monday, Nikkei reported Nissan will end development of new internal combustion engines for all major markets except the U.S. as it focuses resources on electric vehicles.
Nissan will continue "limited" development of gas-powered engines for the U.S. market, mainly for trucks, according to the report.
What is considered a truck is unknown. Are the Armada and Pathfinder trucks or are trucks limited to the Frontier and Titan pickups?
Nissan spokesperson Dan Passe told Motor Authority, "We can't comment on speculation."
The news also likely means we'll soon witness the last hurrah for gas-powered sports cars, including the forthcoming 2023 Nissan Z and a next-generation GT-R.
The timing of the report lends it credence. Nissan will deliver fiscal year 2021 third quarter financial results on Feb. 8 at at 2:30 am ET (which is 4:30 pm JST).
2023 Nissan Z
The 2023 Nissan Z is a heavily reskinned and updated 370Z with new sheetmetal, a heavily updated interior, and the 400-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 from its luxury sibling, the Infiniti Q60.
The updated Z almost didn't happen. Plans called for the legendary nameplate to be killed, but Hiroshi Tamura (known as "Mr. GT-R") and Nissan's head of design, Alfonso Albaisa, effectively resurrected the icon as a skunkworks project.
Little is known about the next-generation GT-R supercar. The R36 generation GT-R will reportedly, and surprisingly, use a new platform (which the Z did not get), according to Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida. Whether the R36 GT-R will be electrified or not is unknown. While Tamura told Motor Authority in 2019 the next-gen GT-R and Z would be shaped by customer feedback, he also said some form of electrification may be necessary to meet emissions standards, whether customers want it or not. That could mean the GT-R's twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-6 will need further development to electrify it, either as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid.
2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD
The second-generation Titan pickup arrived for 2016 and received an update for 2020, both with an updated version of the 5.6-liter V-8 from the first generation. The latest Pathfinder launched in 2021 with an updated 3.5-liter V-6 from the last generation, and the Frontier got a new 3.8-liter V-6 in 2022 before the new Frontier arrived as a 2022 model with the same engine.
The electric Ariya is more than a year behind schedule and is now set to arrive this fall as a 2023 model. Nissan has teased its electric future with cheeky concepts and electric race cars, most of which may or may not ever come to fruition. In January, the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance called for consolidated vehicle development and an increased focus on electric vehicles. The alliance's latest plan is to invest 23 billion euros (approximately $25.7 billion) over the next five years on electrification, which will result in 35 new EVs by 2030.
It's unlikely the Z or GT-R will be among those EVs, but the R36 GT-R could become a hybrid, and perhaps even a refreshed Z will get a hybrid system to extend the life of its gas engine. Nissan has announced no plans for the Z and GT-R beyond their next generations, but by the time their life cycles end, both would likely have to become full electric cars or end their runs.