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Nissan introduces series-hybrid Gripz Concept leveraging LEAF platform

Nissan unveiled a new compact crossover concept, the Nissan Gripz Concept, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Gripz Concept is a series-hybrid system in which a small efficient gasoline engine is used to power the electric motor found in the Nissan LEAF. Nissan calls the series-hybrid system “Pure Drive e-Power”.

The powertrain combines Nissan’s various control technologies from its years of experience developing EVs. This configuration efficiently delivers smooth, swift and linear acceleration in near-silence.


The Crossover concept incorporates four key design elements first seen in Europe on the Nissan Sway, one of the highlights of the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. As with Sway, Gripz features a V-motion grille, boomerang lamps front and rear, a floating roof and a kicked-up C pillar. However, while Sway hinted at a possible direction for a compact hatchback, the Nissan Gripz Concept is a different proposition.

Nissan pioneered the idea of the compact crossover, and this is reflected in the enormous popularity of Qashqai and JUKE and the resulting growth of the market segment as other manufacturers play catch-up. While the Nissan Gripz Concept is not seen as a direct replacement for either of those two iconic vehicles, it does show the extremes to which the compact crossover can be pushed.

—Shiro Nakamura, senior vice president and chief creative officer, Nissan Motor Company


Created through collaboration between Nissan Design Europe in London and Nissan Global Design Center in Japan, the exterior of the Nissan Gripz Concept is guided by the “emotional geometry” body sculpting concept which depicts strong contrasts through the dynamic, tensional, yet edgy surface.

Nissan also unveiled the latest version of the Nissan LEAF to the European market. The new model now provides drivers with up to 250 km (155 miles) of motoring range. (Earlier post.)



A car like this needs some muscle to compensate for it emotional geometry.


I have always been enthusiastic about series hybrids as a superior way to use gasoline power. Sometime in 1979 I was made aware of the 1914 GALT located in Ontario at the Oshawa motor museum. It used a two cylinder engine along with an identical pair of 5Kw motors. The museum staff allowed access to photograph the underside that's how I know. The nameplate is marked 90Vdc 900rpm Shunt Wound Motor.

Schematics were not stored at the museum so exactly how the motorist was meant to control the MG set is not available. Only one was ever built however.

Today I am convinced this idea could be made to work efficiently with an AC motor drive system along with a small engine similar to the turbocharged parallel twin from Fiat's Panda. Originally known as the Aria concept engine when introduced in 2007 this powerplant is now optioned for the iconic Fiat 500 in Europe and the UK where its performance earned it a spot on a Top Gear.

Meanwhile Toyota's Prius models and the GM's Volt continue to cling to four cylinder engines even though it is known that less cylinders equate to less emissions. That said, the problem continues to remain, however successful this newer transitional technology could become, it is still supporting personal mobility at the expense of urban pollution and that is something we have to stop.

In the meantime the landscape has been changed by Tesla's Supercharger Network which today offers an alternative to gasoline in the dispensing of energy. I think the real challenge for manufacturers is not to be seeking alternative powertrains or providing EVs with longer range at lesser cost, rather it should be to target affordable ~$30k cars able to take advantage of fast charging from other than Tesla's propriety system.

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