Nissan Leaf tech for electric bus

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Nissan Leaf technology will be used in electric bus development.

As part of a Kumamoto University project that aims to lower cost of zero-emission public transit, Nissan Leaf technology will be used in an electric bus test in Japan. Nissan Leaf is a 100 per cent electric car that was introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010, followed by various European countries and Canada in 2011. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official range for the 2016 model year Leaf with the 30 kWh battery was 172 kms on a full battery charge. The car, containing battery packs that can be charged to 80 per cent capacity in 30 minutes using DC fast charging, has proved to be the world’s all-time best-selling highway-capable electric car in history. Producing no tailpipe pollution or greenhouse gas emissions when in operation, Leaf’s electric technology includes an 80 kW motor and a single speed constant ratio transmission. The 30kWh Litjium-ion battery is located under the seat to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible. The Leaf also has an auxiliary 12-volt lead–acid battery that provides power to the computer systems and accessories such as the audio system, supplemental restraint systems, headlights and windshield wipers. A small solar panel on the Leaf’s rear spoiler helps to charge the lead-acid battery.

The bus, compared to the Leaf, which is a five-door hatchback, will ferry more people. Bringing together talent and expertise from the automotive industry, government and academia, the bus, as part of the university’s ongoing involvement with a Japanese Ministry of Environment project that aims to reduce or eliminate CO2 and other emissions from larger vehicles such as buses and trucks, will suitably adopt Leaf electric propulsion technology to ensure zero tailpipe emissions and lower running costs. Real world testing scheduled for February in Kumamoto City in western Japan, the bus marks the tackling of a major obstacle in creating a large electric vehicle where the development and parts cost high. Components and modules like batteries and electric motors. By using technology that has already been conceived and perfected by Nissan, the people behind the project are concentrating on keeping the cost of manufacture low. They are also hoping that this project leads to an example that others could follow, and develop electric buses that are viable and sustainable.

The project bus is called the ‘Yoka ECO’. To feature three batteries, three electric motors and an inverter from the Nissan LEAF, the bus will deploy a dedicated gearbox that Nissan is developing. Nissan has pledged to offer technical support and is hoping that the technology it is providing will help the project to achieve its goal of creating environmentally friendly buses for public transportation in Japan. Averred the project leader Toshiro Matsuda who is also an associate professor at Kumamoto University, that the plan is to improve Japan’s environment by standardising the manufacturing of EV buses with the know-how of automakers. “Our goal is to develop electric buses that are well-balanced in terms of being environmentally friendly and having low development costs,” he mentioned. Actively supporting environmental programmes and regional revitalisation activities that focus on energy use and the adoption of electric vehicles, Nissan, by participating in the Yoka ECO electric bus project has once again highlighted that vehicle electrification is a key part of Nissan Intelligent Mobility. The Yoka ECO is reflective of Nissan’s vision for changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society.

Cooperation between Daimler and Renault-Nissan Alliance deepens

The strategic partnership between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG is maturing as it enters its seventh year in 2016. As part of this strategic partnership, the joint development of the Mercedes-Benz pick-up truck is on track. The new pickup will share some of its architecture with the all-new Nissan NP300, and is being engineered and designed by Daimler to meet the specific needs of its customers in Europe, Australia, South Africa and Latin America. The vehicle will have all of Mercedes-Benz’ distinctive characteristics and features. Production will take place at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, and at Nissan’s Barcelona plant in Spain, where the Nissan NP300 Frontier and the Renault Alaskan will also be produced. Further insights into the new pick-up truck’s design, strategy and markets will be soon revealed.

Ashok Leyland and Nissan renew ties?

After severing ties by exiting the joint ventures established few years ago, Ashok Leyland and Nissan are said to be renewing ties. They are claimed to be in the process of signing a new restructuring agreement, which will enable both companies to enter into a new phase of business interaction. As per the new agreement, Nissan would agree to sell to Ashok Leyland all of Nissan’s shares in three joint venture companies formed in 2008. The joint ventures focus on technology development, and manufacturing of powertrains and vehicles, and will henceforth be wholly-owned Ashok Leyland subsidiaries subject to necessary approvals from the regulatory authorities in India. As part of the new arrangement, Ashok Leyland will continue to build, under a licensing agreement, the Dost and Partner in Light Commercial vehicles based on Nissan’s design, engineering and technology. Servicing and parts availability, claim industry sources, will be via a technical support arrangement. The restructuring agreement is also said to touch upon procurement of parts.

Renault-Nissan Alliance reaches its annual synergy target

Renault-Nissan Alliance has generated Euro 4.3 billion from its synergies in 2015. This is said to be one year ahead of its planned scheduled, and is an increase of 13 per cent from the previous year (2014). Purchasing, engineering and manufacturing are said to be the major contributors. It is through synergies that both the companies work together on reducing costs, and on increasing revenues. The synergy also paves the way for the two companies to meet their financial goals, and deliver higher-value vehicles to Renault-Nissan customers. In 2014, the two companies converged four key functional areas. This included engineering, manufacturing engineering and supply chain management, and purchasing and human resources. “Thanks to the convergence, the Alliance expects to generate at least Euro 5.5 billion in synergies by 2018,” said Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO, Renault-Nissan Alliance. Albeit both Renault and Nissan remain separate companies, each function is led by a common alliance executive vice president. The Alliance uses a unique system called the Common Module Family (CMF). The system offers modular vehicle architecture and is claimed to be an increasing source of synergies. In early 2016, Renault announced plans to produce next generation of Nissan’s NV300 van at its plant in Sandouville, France. The Nissan NV300 will be manufactured on the same line as the new Renault traffic, by the end of 2016. These vans are popular as taxis in New York city. In India it is christened as the Evalia. Similarly, Renault’s Lodgy has also made its way to the Indian commercial van market. By 2020, the Alliance expects 70 percent of its vehicles to be built on CMF architectures. In case of manufacturing synergies, cross-production of vehicles will continue to be a major driver. It leverages Alliance production way which is the manufacturing and shop-floor management system common to both Renault and Nissan. Alliance production incorporates manufacturing benchmarks from both Renault and Nissan. The AVTONAZ plant in Togliatti, Russia is the Alliance’s largest production base globally. With a capacity of nearly one million vehicles a year, the plant produces vehicles under brands Nissan and Renault. The Alliance owns a majority stake in the joint venture that controls AVTOVAZ. Renault and Nissan engineers are working together on the development of Autonomous Drive, connectivity and other next-generation technologies for mass-market, mainstream vehicles. The Renault-Nissan Alliance also announced that it will launch 10 models with Autonomous Drive technologies by 2020. This is in line with the Alliance’s commitment to technological innovation and its focus on the twin goals of zero emissions and zero fatalities. The Alliance has an annual research and development budget of about Euro 4.5 billion. It has research centers in Atsugi in Japan, Guyancourt in France, Farmington Hills in Mich, Sunnyvale in Calif, and in India, Brazil, Romania, Turkey and China among other locations.

Former Nissan boss Andrew C Palmer is appointed additional director by Ashok Leyland

Ashok Leyland has announced that it will appoint former Nissan boss, Andrew C Palmer as an additional director under the Independent category. The move, subject to approval of shareholders at a general meeting, is expected to help the Hinduja Group flagship company to look at new opportunities on the domestic as well as the export front. Currently, the CEO of Aston Martin, Palmer is said to have played a key role along with V Sumantran and R Seshasayee, the then top executives at Ashok Leyland, towards engineering a joint venture with Nissan in 2008. Palmer was then the corporate vice president of Nissan’s light commercial vehicles business. Palmer moved to Aston Martin in 2014 after spending 24 years at Nissan.