NISSAN is ready to introduce its e-power technology in Thailand, which will play an important role in helping the Japanese automaker increase its market share from the forecast 7 per cent this year to the double-digit range within three years.
The company also wants to regain its No 3 position in the Thai passenger car market, which is dominated by Toyota, Honda and newcomer Mazda, which in recent years has been highly successful with its SKYACTIV technology campaign.
Antoine Barthes, president of Nissan Motor (Thailand) Co, said electrification of products with localisation is a “must in the mid-term” for Nissan in Thailand.
“When looking at the Thai government’s view on electrification, the Nissan e-power technology is very interesting,” he told Thai media in a roundtable session.
Unlike conventional electric vehicles (EVs) that need to be charged from external sources, the e-power system, which is offered in the Note subcompact in Japan, doesn’t require external charging and gets its electricity from a 3-cylinder, 1.2-litre internal combustion engine that serves as an in-house generator.
Electricity is stored in a high-capacity lithium-ion battery, which powers the electric motor that propels the car.
If Nissan decides to bring the technology here, which is classified as a series hybrid, it would also carry out local production of components, particularly the battery.
The incentives offered for EV production and sales by the Thai government are in the right direction.“What needs to be done is to get into details,” he said.
“We need to secure a business case that makes sense. This includes offering a product that is appealing (affordable) to customers.”
At the global level, Nissan has been selling EVs such as the Leaf for seven years, and has more experience in this field that its competitors, he said.
The new Leaf EV model will be launched next week in Japan.
“EVs are perfect for commuting in Bangkok and for customers who want a longer range, the e-power is the choice since it has no range limitation,” he said.
According to the Japan test mode, the Note e-Power’s fuel economy is 37.2 kilometres per litre.
Besides working on introducing products that appeal to Thai customers, Nissan is also reorganising its dealership network.
During the first quarter of its 2017 fiscal year (April-June), Nissan sales surged by 33 per cent to 13,815 units from the corresponding quarter last year.
The vehicles sold comprised 7,984 eco cars, 4,562 pickup trucks, 497 X-Trail SUVs and 772 units of other models.