EV/HV/PHV launch plans by Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Suzuki

Nissan to introduce new EVs and front-wheel drive HVs; Honda plans a three-motor HV



 Reported below is a summary of launch plans of EV (Electric vehicle), HV (Hybrid electric vehicle), and PHV (Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) by Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Suzuki. Technologies addressing higher deceleration energy regeneration for increasing fuel efficiency are also reported along with the vehicle launch plans.

 Nissan plans to increase its global sales of the Leaf EV from 23,000 units sold in FY2011 to 40,000 units in FY2012. Despite a speculation that rapid market penetration of the electric vehicles is unlikely, Nissan is set to keep its original plan of selling 1.5 million units in total, including Renault vehicles, by FY2016. Nissan expects a sales expansion period of the Leaf EV to start in 2013 and will start production of the Leaf in the US in the second half of 2012 and in the UK in 2013. Nissan's EV lineup will include two Infiniti-branded EV models in 2014 and the e-NV200 and e-NT400 electric commercial vehicles in 2014 to 2015.

 Nissan's one-motor/two-clutch HV system for rear-wheel drive vehicles is used in the Fuga and the Cima. The company plans to make the system for front-wheel drive HVs as well in 2013 to boost the total sales volume. Nissan also plans to develop PHV adopting the one-motor/two-clutch system.

 In August 2012, Nissan's "S-Hybrid" system, developed to improve fuel efficiency by increasing the amount of energy regeneration, was introduced with the Serena minivan.

 Honda will make its two-motor HV system available with the US version Accord, in addition to the existing one-motor HV system. The company plans to develop a three-motor system dubbed "Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system" and make it available with the NSX and the Acura RLX, and also with the successor model to the Legend slated for launch in Japan in 2014.

 Honda will increase production of its EVs and HVs in areas outside of Japan. The company has started production of the Acura ILX HV in the US and of the Jazz (the Fit in Japan) HV in Thailand in 2012. The NSX will be produced in the US.

Nissan's Infiniti Etherea concept
Nissan's Infiniti Etherea concept has double swing doors and no B-pillar and is fitted with a front-wheel drive HV system.

Honda's Acura NSX concept
Honda's Acura NSX concept, fitted with a three-motor HV system, will be developed and produced in the US.

 Mitsubishi is launching a mini-truck EV and the Outlander PHV in FY2012. The company will launch seven more electrified vehicle models during FY2014 to FY2016 to expand its lineup.

 In September 2012, Suzuki launched the new Wagon R featuring newly-developed deceleration energy regeneration technologies called ENE-CHARGE and ECO-COOL. According to Suzuki, these technologies have achieved JC08 mode fuel efficiency of 28.8 km/liter.

Related Report: HV/EV launch plans by Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and Daihatsu (posted in September 2012)

Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi's EV/HV sales volumes in Japan

EV/HV sales volume by Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Suzuki

2008 2009 2010 2011 Jan.-Jun.
Nissan (HV & EV) HV (Fuga & Cima) 1,152 3,293 3,884
EV (Leaf) 19 10,310 6,111
Honda (HV) Insight 1 93,283 38,080 13,127 121,474
Fit (incl. Shuttle) 24,498 102,386
Civic 5,124 3,766 2,542 508
CR-Z 22,372 6,794
Freed (incl. Spike) 11,373
Total 5,125 97,049 87,492 134,188
Mitsubishi (EV) i-MiEV 986 2,340 2,290 1,373
MINICAB-MiEV 849 1,601
Total 986 2,340 3,139 2,974



Nissan: Introducing S-Hybrid cars in 2012, front-wheel drive HVs in 2013

Nissan's EV/HV launch plan

(Models produced or to be produced outside of Japan exclusively are listed
in a separate table "Nissan's overseas production of EV/HV" below)
-2011 2012 2013 2014 2015-
HV Fuga Launch in 2010
Cima ((1) in table below) Launch
S-HYBRID (2) Launch
FWD small and medium vehicles (3) US
Atlas H43 Diesel Hybrid 2007 (supplied
by Isuzu)
Discontinued Supplied by
Mitsubishi Fuso
EV Leaf (4) Japan, US,
Europe in 2010
New Mobility Concept (5) Road test Provided as
patrol vehicles
Mini commercial vehicles Supplied by
Infiniti LE Concept (6) Launch
e-NT400 (7) Launch
PHV Medium and large vehicles (8) Launch


 Nissan developed a one-motor/two-clutch type HV system, which was fitted in the Fuga launched in the fall of 2010. The system was also used in the new Cima launched in May 2012 (the new Cima does not have a gasoline-fueled version).
 In November 2010, Nissan introduced the Serena featuring a start/stop system fitted with a belt-driven ECO motor. Nissan also developed a simplified HV system called "Smart Simple Hybrid" characterized by the ECO motor with a higher output and energy regeneration efficiency. The system also has a sub-battery to increase the storage capacity to such a degree it can assist the engine. The new system was adopted in the Serena in August 2012. The new Serena has a class-leading JC08 mode fuel efficiency of 15.2 km/liter (the engine-assist uses only the regenerated electric energy and the engine does not generate electricity for storing electric energy).
 The S-HYBRID system improves fuel efficiency by only about 10% but is a compact system with all components stored under the engine hood without affecting the passenger compartment's spaciousness. The car's price is 100,000 yen higher including standardized equipment that used to be optional, and the HV system itself increases the price by several thousand to twenty thousand yen. The vehicle is eligible for a 100% tax exempt privilege (vehicle acquisition and weight taxes) rather than 75% as it used to be (the Serena S-HYBRID is the only car in its class qualified for 100% exempt). This alone is worth approximately 40,000 yen which offsets the price hike. According to Nissan, the company had orders for 13,922 units by September 2, one month after launch, 90% of which were for the S-HYBRID.
HV system for
FWD vehicle
 Nissan's one-motor/two-clutch system modified for front-wheel drive vehicles is built into the next-generation CVT (called "CVT8 HYBRID" by its manufacturer, JATCO) and combined with a 2.5-liter supercharged engine and lithium-ion battery. The system will appear first in the US market in 2013 (most likely on the Altima) before global introduction. The "CVT8 HYBRID" will be manufactured at JATCO's plants in Mexico and Japan starting in 2012.
 The sales volume of the Leaf in the Japanese market in 2011 was rather low at 10,310 units. In light of stable production ahead, Nissan plans to sell 1,500 units in average per month, 18,000 units a year in total in FY2012. The "Leaf to Home" electric power supply system released for sale in August will be used to promote the Leaf's sales (the power supply system is capable of approximately two day's supply of electric power from a full-charge condition and costs about 330,000 yen to the customer).
New Mobility
 The "New Mobility Concept" is a two-seat concept car based on Renault's Twizy, fitted with lithium-ion battery and has maximum speed of 80 km/h, overall length of 2340 mm and vehicle weight of 490 kg. Developed to meet the growing population of senior citizens and need for short-distance mobility. Not permitted on public roads under existing law but will qualify for classification under the new category "ultra-mini mobility" being prepared by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (to be positioned between "minivehicles" and "type 1 motorized bicycle (four-wheeled vehicle)" under the Road Vehicles Act).
 Nissan is conducting, since October 2011, a road demonstration test of the ultra-mini EV "Nissan New Mobility Concept" under the cooperation of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. The demonstration vehicles have been used as anticrime patrol vehicles in Yokohama since July 2012.
Infiniti LE
 Nissan exhibited the Infiniti LE Concept at the New York Auto Show in April 2012. Based on the Nissan Leaf, the concept car is a near-production version and will be released for sale in the US within two years from now.
 Nissan exhibited the e-NT400 Atlas Concept, based on the light-duty commercial vehicle Atlas F24, at the Tokyo Truck Show in October 2011. Fitted with the Nissan Leaf's EV system, the vehicle has a short cruising range of 100 km in JC08 mode but the company reached the conclusion after a recent survey that the range is "long enough for local transportation." Nissan plans to develop the production model for launch in three years.
 Nissan plans to develop a PHV system for medium- to large-size vehicles based on the one-motor/two-clutch system for market launch in 2015. The PHV system is required to have a sufficient EV drive range and the one-motor/two-clutch system fitted in the Fuga and the Cima actually runs in EV mode over nearly half of the total distance. Hence, Nissan believes the system is a good choice for PHV.



Nissan's overseas production of EV/HV: Starting the Leaf EV production in the US in 2012, in the UK in 2013

Nissan's overseas production of EV/HV

-2011 2012 2013 2014 2015-
HV Former Altima (produced in US) Discontinued
Infiniti Etherea Concept (1) Austria
EV Leaf (2) US UK
e-NV200 (3) Spain
e-NT400 (4) Launch
Original-branded EV in China (5) Production to start by 2015


Infiniti Etherea
 The Infiniti Etherea is a compact HV (the first front-wheel drive Infiniti) fitted with the front-wheel drive HV system described under (3) in the table above. Starting in 2014, the car will be manufactured for Nissan by Magna Steyr, an Austrian auto manufacturer, and exported to the US as well. The car is a mixture of a coupe, sedan and hatchback and has no B-pillar. The double swing doors give an open impression.
 Starting in the second half of 2012, Nissan will produce the Leaf at the Smyrna plant in the US (annual capacity of 150,000 units) and the Sunderland plant in the UK (annual capacity of 50,000 units). It has been reported that Nissan's production of the Leaf in Japan for exports is being suppressed to minimize the adverse effect of the yen's high appreciation.
 The Leaf sold 9,674 units in 2011 in the US in several states including California that offer financial support for EV purchases. The Leaf is now sold in all 50 states since March 2012. The US is making some progress in terms of charging infrastructure and there are more people than in Japan who own two or more vehicles. Nissan sees a huge potential for EVs in the US as people may use the Leaf, for example, for short trips in the neighborhood.
 Nissan will start to produce the full electric version of the NV200, the e-NV200, at the Barcelona plant in Spain in FY2013 and supply them globally. It will be Nissan's second electric vehicle after the Leaf. Nissan aims to achieve EV range of 200 km (same as the Leaf). The lithium-ion batteries will be produced at the Sunderland plant in the UK.
 Nissan plans to launch within three years a new electric vehicle, e-NT400, based on the commercial vehicle Cabstar that was exhibited at the commercial vehicles motor show held in Hanover, Germany, in September 2012. Cabstar is the sister model to the Atlas F24 and is produced in Spain.
of EV in China
 Nissan will start, in 2014 to 2015, local production of the Venucia-branded EV at Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Company in China. The Venucia EV concept was exhibited at the Beijing motor show in April 2012. Nissan has also announced the decision to supply 1,000 units of the EV to the city of Dalian by 2014.



Honda: Introducing two-motor and three-motor HV systems

 In September 2012, Honda announced it would adopt one of the three different HV systems with unique individual characteristics depending on the model in order to fulfill the needs of more customers.

Honda: Three HV systems to characterize its hybrid vehicle models

One-motor HV  This is the IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) system on the current Honda hybrid vehicles that are driven chiefly by the engine with the motor assist. Honda will increase the motor output and the battery performance and combine the system with the newly-developed transmission to expand EV driving range. The company will also strive to achieve No. 1 fuel economy among all hybrid vehicles by improving the regenerative energy recovery efficiency.
Two-motor HV  The two-motor HV system and PHV system will be introduced in the midsize vehicles including the US version Accord starting in 2013.
Three-motor HV  The three-motor HV system, dubbed the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) and characterized by very high sport handling and fuel efficiency performances, will be fitted in the NSX, Acura RLX and the successor model to the Legend.


Honda: Introducing two-motor and three-motor PHV/HV systems

(Models produced or to be produced outside of Japan exclusively are listed
in a separate table "Honda's overseas production of EV/HV" below)
-2011 2012 2013 2014 2015-
HV Insight (1) 2009 China
CR-Z (1) 2010
Fit (1) 2010
Civic (overseas only) US
Fit Shuttle (2) Japan
Freed (2)
Freed Spike (2)
Accord (3) Launch
Acura RLX (4) US Production
to US
Successor model to the Legend (4) Launch
STEPWGN (2) Japan
PHV Accord (5) Japan, US
EV Fit EV (6) Japan, US
Micro Commuter Concept (7) Demonstration
in Japan

(Note) The year under "-2011" is the year of launch. Models launched in 2011 are identified by "Launch."

Launch in China
 Honda will have four HV models in total in China with the introduction of the Insight, CR-Z and Fit HV in 2012 in addition to the Civic HV which is already sold there.
4 models sold
in Japan
 Honda launched the Fit Shuttle HV in June 2011, and the Freed HV and Freed Spike HV in October (these three models are all specified for the Japanese market exclusively). There are now six HV models in total sold in the Japanese market, including the Insight, CR-Z and Fit HV that have already been sold in Japan. Honda is launching the STEPWGN HV in 2014.
 The CR-Z was given a minor change in September 2012, in which the nickel hydride battery was replaced by lithium-ion battery. This is the first lithium-ion battery that Honda adopted in its HV model sold in Japan.
Accord HV
 The one-motor IMA system was used in the then-US version Accord in 2004 but production was discontinued due to poor sales performance. Honda is developing a two-motor HV system which will be used in the Accord in the summer of 2013 to meet the increasingly strict fuel efficiency regulation in the US.
Acura RLX
(Legend in Japan)
 Honda exhibited, at the New York auto show held in April 2012, the upcoming model of the RL (called Legend in Japan) which is the top model under the Acura brand. The cars will be available in front-wheel and all-wheel drive versions. They will be produced initially at Honda's Saitama plant but production will be transferred to the US in phases.
 The all-wheel drive model will be fitted with a new HV system. A V6 3500 cc direct injection engine will be combined with the seven-speed dual clutch transmission with a built-in motor to drive the front wheels. The rear wheels will be driven by two motors independently. The system, called the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive), will be introduced to the market in the US at the beginning of 2013.
 The Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system will be used in Japan in the successor model to the Legend being released in 2014.
Accord PHV
 A two-motor HV-based PHV will be fitted in the US version Accord which will be launched in the US at the beginning of 2013. The Accord PHV will be introduced in Japan also at about the same time.
 A 6.7 kWh lithium-ion battery, two motors and a 2000 cc gasoline engine will be fitted with an EV range of 10 to 15 miles and total cruising range of over 500 miles. The car will run on the engine alone on expressways.
Fit EV
 The Fit EV is fitted with Toshiba's 20 kWh lithium-ion battery. The company announced in July 2012 that the car received an unprecedented low electric power consumption rating of 106 Wh/km (JC08 mode) in Japan. (In September 2012, Toyota announced the company would introduce the eQ EV in December that boasts improved electric power consumption rating -the world's best- of 104 Wh/km.) The Fit EV has per-charge EV range of 225 km (JC08 mode). In the US, the car won the lowest consumption rating of 29 kWh/100 miles and mile-per-gallon-equivalency rating of 118 MPGe. It runs 80 miles per charge.
 The Fit EV was released for leasing in Japan at the end of August 2012. The company plans to lease 200 units in two years to local government offices and corporate users. The lease price is 4 million yen including consumption tax. The car was released for leasing in the US in California and Oregon in July 2012, and will be available for leasing in the East Coast starting in 2013. The company plans to lease 1,100 units in three years from now.
 The Fit EV is fitted with an electric servo braking system. Compared to the conventional hydraulic booster type regenerative brakes, the new system has an extra broader regenerative braking range stretching from the moment the brake pedal is pressed to the moment the vehicle comes to a stop. This leads to an 8% improvement in energy recovery which contributes to the Fit EV's higher energy-efficiency performance and longer cruising range.
Micro Commuter
 The concept vehicle, exhibited at the 2011 Tokyo motor show, measures 2500 mm long and 1250 mm wide and is built for three people in a 1+2 seating layout. It has a driving range of 60 km. It qualifies, as does Nissan's New Mobility Concept, for classification under the new category "ultra-mini mobility" being prepared by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Demonstration tests in Japan are planned to start in 2013.



Honda's overseas production of EV/HV: Producing HVs in the US, Thailand and Malaysia

Honda's overseas production of EV/HV

-2011 2012 2013 2014 2015-
HV Acura ILX (1) US
Jazz (Fit) (2, 3) Thailand
NSX (4) US
Acura RLX Transferred
to US
HVs produced in China (5) Production to start in China
EV EVs produced in China (6) China


Acura ILX
 In April 2012, production of the gasoline-fueled and HV versions of Honda's Acura ILX began at the Indiana plant in the US. The HV model is fitted with a 1500 cc gasoline engine and the one-motor IMA system. This marks Honda's first overseas production of its HVs.
Jazz HV
in Thailand
 In July 2012, Honda started production of the Jazz HV (Fit HV) at the Ayutthaya plant operated by its Thai corporation. Honda has been producing the gasoline-fueled Jazz and the plant will receive supplies of key HV components (batteries and motors) from Japan and assemble them locally. The company plans to sell 10,000 units a year in Thailand with plans to export some from Thailand to Australia and New Zealand.
Jazz HV
in Malaysia
 Honda is starting production of the Jazz HV also in Malaysia by the end of 2012. Honda sold 4,500 units of the Insight in Malaysia in 2011 and has been importing the CR-Z since December 2011 and the Jazz HV since March 2012. Sales of the imported Jazz HV will be replaced by those of the locally-produced ones.
Acura NSX
 Honda is developing the next model of the NSX in the US for local production starting by 2014. The company plans to produce only a small quantity on a compact manual production line to be prepared in its Ohio R&D facility in the US.
 The next model will be fitted with the newly-developed Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system. A V6 direct injection mid-ship engine and the seven-speed dual clutch transmission with a built-in motor will drive the rear wheels. The front wheels will be driven by two motors independently. (The NSX has a mid-ship engine layout and the front and rear wheel drive methods are reversed from the drive system of the Acura RLX mentioned earlier.)
 The NSX will be introduced first in the US. It will be introduced later in Japan and Europe under the Honda brand.
HVs produced
in China
 Honda is currently preparing for HV production in China (announced in April 2012). The company is planning on local procurement of batteries, motors and other key components to reduce costs and expand sales of the HVs. Production may start in 2013 at the earliest when annual sales of 50,000 units is in sight.
 Honda reportedly has plans to produce two-motor HVs as well in China. Production will not start until after 2014 as this involves new technology and the company needs time to validate products and production engineering.
EVs produced
in China
 Honda has been conducting demonstration tests in Guangzhou in China since 2011. The company is preparing to start production at Guangqi Honda Automobile by the end of 2012 if the test results are promising (announced in April 2012).



Mitsubishi and Suzuki's EV/HV launch plans

Mitsubishi: Electrified vehicle lineup being expanded significantly

-FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 FY2014-FY2016
EV i-MiEV Japan 2009 Introducing seven models of electrified vehicles (EV, PHV, HV) in three years from FY2014 to FY2016 (including the small sedan HV being introduced in FY2014)
North America
MINICAB-MiEV (1) Launch
Mini-truck Launch
PHV Outlander (2) Launch
HV Small sedan

(Note) The year under "-2011" is the year of launch. Models launched in 2011 are identified by "Launch."

 The mini commercial van EV, MINICAB-MiEV, was launched in November 2011. Two types of drive batteries having different total energy capacities are available (one with total energy capacity of 10.5 kWh and JC08 mode drive range of 100 km, and the other with 16.0 kWh total energy capacity and 150 km drive range).
 The MINICAB-MiEV will be supplied to Nissan and Suzuki under OEM arrangements and sold under respective brands.
Outlander PHV
 Mitsubishi will launch the Outlander PHV in the Japanese market at the beginning of 2013 and later in Europe and North American markets. According to Mitsubishi, the vehicle is referred to as the Plug-in Hybrid EV system and was developed as a vehicle for the mid-size passenger car or higher category to meet a greater need for long-distance mobility. The vehicle has the cruising range of 880 km (JC08 mode) consisting of the range in EV mode and that driven with the engine-generated electricity and driven by the engine itself.
 The EV-based PHV is fitted with a 2000 cc gasoline engine, two motors (front and rear), generator and large lithium-ion battery having total energy capacity of 12 kWh. The front wheels are driven by the engine and the front-wheel drive motor and the rear wheels are driven by the rear-wheel drive motor. The "twin-motor 4WD" system, without the propeller shaft or other mechanical coupling, has a targeted combined fuel efficiency of 61 km/liter (JC08 mode) or higher.
 The vehicle has three drive modes: (1) EV mode with a JC08 mode EV range of 55 km, (2) series drive mode in which the engine generates electric energy for the motors to drive the vehicle, and (3) the parallel drive mode in which the vehicle is driven chiefly by the engine with the motor-assist. Since the Outlander PHV does not have a transmission and the engine is engaged in the "top" gear condition, the parallel drive mode is limited to high-speed driving of high engine efficiency.
(Notes) 1. Mitsubishi reportedly is considering the development of EV and HV based on the compact strategic car (called Mirage in Japan) whose production began in 2012 in Thailand.
2. It is said Mitsubishi may make available the HV or PHV version, based on the next Lancer Evolution, using in-wheel motors.


Suzuki: New Wagon R featuring ENE-CHARGE and ECO-COOL technologies

-FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 FY2014 FY2015-
Micro Hybrid Wagon R with ENE-CHARGE system (1) Launch
EV OEM model of Mitsubishi's MINICAB-MiEV (2) Launch planned
PHV Swift (3) Launch


Wagon R with
 The new Wagon R launched in September 2012 features ENE-CHARGE, a newly-developed deceleration energy regeneration system. The car uses a lithium-ion battery, in addition to the lead battery used on existing vehicles with the start/stop system, to increase the storage capacity. It also uses an alternator having roughly twice as high generating capacity as the conventional products. Most of the necessary electric power is generated while the car is decelerating and the regenerative energy is stored in two batteries. This helps to minimize the engine-driven alternator operation and increase fuel efficiency along with smoother acceleration feel.
 The car is also fitted with a new start/stop system that stops the engine at the vehicle speed of 13 km/h. This increases the engine-off time during which the air-conditioning is turned off and only the air ventilation is available. The ECO-COOL, also fitted in the Wagon R, comes in and delivers cool air through cold storage material into the passenger compartment. As a result, the new Wagon R has achieved the highest fuel efficiency at 28.8 km/L (JC08 mode) in the mini-wagon category.
Mini commercial EV
 In November 2011, Mitsubishi announced OEM supply arrangement with Suzuki for the MINICAB-MiEV starting in February 2012. Full supply is expected to start by the end of FY2012. Mitsubishi hopes this will increase the volume efficiency and reduce costs.
Swift PHV
 Suzuki has been conducting road tests of the Swift PHV since the fall of 2010. According to the test announcement, the Swift is a series PHV model fitted with Sanyo's 2.66 kWh lithium-ion battery and a 660 cc gasoline engine for generation.
 The car was developed under the concept of "minimize the number of lithium-ion batteries and use an engine for minivehicles to reduce the cost (low-cost vehicle for short-trip users). The original test vehicle had an EV range of 15 km but it is said Suzuki will extend the range to 30 km and launch the car in the market in 2013 at a price lower than 2 million yen.

(Note) In April 2012, Suzuki accepted an allocation of new shares to a third party executed by Eliiy Power Co., Ltd., a developer and manufacturer of storage batteries, and invested 1 billion yen in the company accordingly. It has been reported that the two companies have started joint development of batteries for the EV to be developed by Suzuki.

Sources: Press releases and newspaper articles

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